It’s 532am January 23rd and it s freaking freezing outside. Well for me it’s freezing; 45 degrees in Orlando FL even makes Mickey mouse’s teeth chatter. (Does Mickey Mouse even have teeth?)
As I wait for the the registers to open in the food court of the Walt Disney World All Star Music Resort I start to think about what makes Disney so great? Aside from the talent they obviously have, it’s the service. Disney does it right from the time you check in till the time you wave goodbye. Which led me to think about what really makes good service, customer service? Is it knowledgeable and helpful people? Is it the type of no questions asked return policies of Zappos.com? Or is it a smile on the face of someone who is looking right at you as you speak to them?
The answer is, “YES!”. (And this is before I get my coffee…..6am can’t come fast enough!) It’s the little things and the big things. It’s the Nordstrom philosophy of going the extra mile by walking you over to the gloves instead of pointing you in the right direction. JetBlue does it to by getting my wife onto a plane en-route to her Grandmother’s funeral after Spirit cancels her flight for no good reason given and pampering her the whole way up to NY. It even exists in the Office Depot branch in my community that I know and love each of the people who work there Store #2342. Starbucks has put back the “care” in customer care as far as I am concerned. Anytime my drink ordered isn’t exactly right (Venti Soy Latte at 130 degrees, although the Soy Spice Latte is making move up!) I get a voucher for next drink on the house. Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com says “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”
So what makes good customer service? It is making you the customer feel taken cared of, special, and that you matter. At SupplyMart Inc. where we provide office supplies, equipment and furniture and the company I founded and run we have a tagline that the company was founded and operate on. “Where the customer IS the business”. Without customers you wouldn’t have or BE in business, so why wouldn’t they be the most important thing on your company’s radar?
Without purposely bashing a brand or company, the opposite is true as with Spirit Airlines. They do nothing to make the customer feel special or important. In fact in some ways the dollar store airline I consider to be the wicked witch of the airline industry. The most important thing in their business plan? The dollar bill.
Making a customer feel important and valued is so easy to do really. Smile, say thank you or I’m sorry, and of course what can I do to make this better? But how do you stand out in a crowded marketplace no matter what field of business you are in? Find a way to show your customers you care. It shouldn’t be hard either unless you really don;t care which in that case find another business, or better yet go into the office supply industry! SupplyMart will be happy to take care of your unsatisfied customers!
Treat people like you want to be treated. Treat customers like human beings. Talk to them, get personal, find out what they have going on right now. It is amazing how you make someone else feel good just by asking a little bit about them. And in the end you are the one that feels good as well.
I had a customer that once was into turtles. I knew this because after being observant (check previous post on being observant) I noticed her necklace, bracelet, and trinkets around her office was all themed with turtles. So I did something that is so simple yet so necessary in sales, I asked a question! about her turtles of course. Her eyes lit up and told me a life full of tales stemming from her pet turtle Sam through till today. We covered the hatching’s along the coast of Florida and how many times she has been there to witness the turtles return to see, and how I have always wanted to bring my kids and experience that with them. Before you knew it we were Turtle buddies! All from asking a question! By asking I showed that I cared and I do and you should to.
“There is only one boss: the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” Sam Walton