October 16, 2007.
Sometimes when I go back over these old blogs I think I only write about customer service...oh and uh that other thing I am STILL writing about. Great customer service is what makes good companies great. Until I owned my own business I did not notice these things like I do now. These days, in my old age I will go and seek out those that go the extra mile, over and over again.
When we pick up a new sales channel, or get a direct order I tell them we take customer service very seriously. I explain we put the customer first. We try very hard to remember, to give special treatments and to reward past customers, and do favors. They will remember when you DON'T do something nice.
Do You Know Your Customers?
This past weekend my husband and I took a little mini-vacation to Southern California - for his 20 year high school reunion. We had a lot of fun....one of us might have had too much fun one night. Not wanting to drive 6 1/2 hours all the way home, and grabbing one extra night alone without kids we reserved a room in Paso Robles.
We stayed at a brand new hotel, two weeks old. When we were sitting in the waiting area, waiting for our room to be ready the chef came up to us and wished us a happy anniversary. We thanked him and both looked at each other like we just entered the twilight zone. Darin thinks he might have mentioned we were taking an extra day for our anniversary (it's end of October), when we checked in, or reserved the room-but does not even recall when he told them.
Next we get our room, go up to the room and sitting in the living room area - not only a bottle of wine chilling from the area, but a nice card wishing us a happy anniversary. Again - we looked at each other and talked about how great the customer service was. They did not need to do that, but they definitely went the extra mile in our opinion. Not a big deal I know - but it was a very nice way to end our little trip.
How Much does Thank You Cost?
The bartender had given us a map of the wineries - she circled a few that were her favorites and told us we had to stop there. She was super nice and helpful and we figured - we don't know the area, might as well take her advice.
The first winery we stopped at - poured us some wine then asked us how we found out about the winery. I said the bartender recommended the winery, she loved there wine. The woman behind the bar immediately got on the phone, asked to speak to the bartender, asked her favorite wine and told her she was sending her a bottle. She grabbed a bottle - handed it to us and asked us to deliver it to her to thank her for recommending the winery.
Now neither of these stories are unique - but to me they are. Or maybe I had too much wine....no kidding. I could not get over what amazing customer service - everyone went the extra mile. How great a company could you have IF everyone went that extra mile? If everyone took two extra seconds to thank someone, offer something or acknowledge a special event?
We we will rush orders when we can, we will give discounts on multiple orders - we will replace broken tiles, we will help customers save money on multiple orders shipping costs. We will work weekends, we will stay late - we will fix problems, find ways to improve. I do not know any other way to run a company. If you want some other creative ways to improve on your company check out Seth Godin's blog - HE gets it!
I think Maya Angelou says it best, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."