What makes a business stick positively in the mind of its customers? It’s many things, but I’d argue that service is a big sticking point. Providing a great customer service will never be bad business, and boy do most businesses have a lot to improve in this area.
With that said, let me tell you about a couple of experiences I had last week. There are three places I frequent on a weekly and monthly basis: the gym, restaurants, bars and massage therapy.
Let’s start with the massage…
I’m a massage connoisseur, get one once per month. I had a personal massage therapist a few years ago but she now lives in another state, I’ve since been going to one place to another trying to find my next personal massage therapist. What I liked about my previous massage therapist is that she was a therapist. She didn’t just move her hands around my back and legs; she did things with a purpose. She would ask me about any discomfort I had, how it started, what caused it, etc.. She would have detailed notes about every session we had, the different areas she would work on, and would follow up with me during the week to know if my discomfort was gone or figure out what was causing it.
No one else that I’ve met does that. There is one place that asks you about any pain and discomfort you might be having, and will ask detailed questions about it but they don’t keep detailed notes on the sessions and they don’t follow up with you after it!
I may be biased because I like attention to detail, but she went the extra mile and I judge everyone else by those standards. Oh! and she was really good at her job.
Anyway, on to my second experience from last week..
There’s a traditional mexican food restaurant I vist at least 2 times per week, people know me there, I always sit on their dine bar. Last week, I came in one day and followed my routine of sitting on the dine bar. The staff saw me come in and sit, still I waited almost 10 minutes before anyone acknowledged my existence and asked if I wanted to see the menu.
I was annoyed to say the least. I never get preferential treatment, and I never expect it, but they saw me come in. But almost 10 minutes before anyone said anything to me. Not even an “I’ll be with you in a moment”.
Just before I left, I let the Manager know that I wasn’t very pleased with the service. He apologized and took note of the reason why and made no excuses for their lack of attention.
What do these examples have in common?
Your customer service is an extension of yourself and your staff
Various things, but for me it all comes down to attention to detail. Maybe I’m a demanding customer, but attention should be a non-negotiable whether you’re demanding or not. From the perspective of the customer, attention is the basis for providing a seamless customer experience. Going the extra mile with how you serve your customers is about giving a shit about them. Oh, and customers don’t care if you’re having a bad day or whatever the case may be; and they don’t have to.
The holy grail of marketing is word of mouth. It takes 12 positive customer experiences to make up for one negative experience. Don’t be the one that gets bashed by customers because you dropped the ball and gave them a negative experience.
As customers, we want to be treated well. This is basic stuff, and for me it comes down to this: Treat others as you’d like to be treated.
As far as I’m concerned most businesses lack “going the extra mile” attitude when it comes to their service. If more did then the stakes would be higher and situations like mine wouldn’t be as common. Why? Because there’s less competition in “going the extra mile”.
Bottom line: Great customer service is rare. Everybody has a chance, an opportunity to change and improve, but not everybody takes advantage. Be somebody who does; be a bar raiser.