I know of only three ways to create an outstanding customer service experience.
- Build Relationships
- Exceed Expectations
- Solve Problems
Here is a quick example of each one.
I'm not the least bit handy, so when the spice rack in my kitchen got stuck and wouldn't open, I knew it would be futile to try to fix it myself. My first instinct was to call Don Teemsma at Ideal Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical. I knew that Ideal also remodels kitchens and bathrooms (they remodelled two of our bathrooms), so I figured he'd know someone who was a cabinet expert. Don was confident that one of his employees, Joe, could handle it. An hour later, Joe was at my house and not long after that the spice rack was unstuck and as good as new.
Without knowing someone like Don, I realize I would have to spend time blindly searching for someone to do the repair, schedule an appointment for the obligatory four hour window, and then hope everything turned out okay. Don helps customers like me avoid these hassles by making sure help is just a phone call away.
Go the Extra Mile
I overheard an interesting exchange while my wife, Sally, and I were enjoying a wonderful meal at Fleming's Steakhouse last Saturday. A guest at a nearby table asked his server if there was an ATM nearby because he didn't have any cash to tip the valet parking attendant. They server pointed out an ATM machine about a block away, but then suggested the guest simply add the valet's tip to his dinner bill. The server explained he'd be happy to take care of the valet's tip for the guest so he wouldn't have to worry about tracking down the ATM machine.
Simple gestures like this that save a customer some time and money (ATM fees - yikes!) make a lasting impression. It didn't require a lot of extra effort from the server, but taking the initiative to be extra helpful made a wonderful impression on the guest. And, since I'm writing about someone else receiving great service, this simple gesture clearly had a ripple effect.
I made an appointment for my dog, Melrose, to spend a day last week at Furry Tales Doggy Day Care. The dogs have a lot of fun playing with each other in their open environment and Melrose always comes home tired after a great day. As I made the appointment, I learned they didn't have a record of Melrose's latest vaccinations, even though I had given them copies several months earlier. Melissa, the friendly employee taking the reservation, told me she would contact Melrose's vetenarian and have his office fax over her records so I wouldn't have to worry about giving them another copy.
Problems can and will occur. The speed and manner in which they get resolved is ultimately the difference between outstanding and poor service. Tracking down my dog's vaccination records might be been a hassle, but Melissa found a way to solve the problem without requiring any extra effort from me.
3 Ways to Wow
I mentioned I only know of three ways to deliver outstanding service. Is there another path I neglected? Please feel free to leave a comment and enlighten me or simply leave your own tale of outstanding service.