So what is good customer service these days?
Does it mean getting a customer out the door fast? Or having a sales assistant help find the right item, size and color? Or keeping costs as low as possible? Keeping the restrooms clean? Self-checkout? No self-checkout? Is it having the latest stuff shoppers don't even know they want until they see it? Making a delivery on time? Fixing errors quickly? Having a live person answering the phone?
Good customer service can only be defined by what is important to each individual customer.
Renowned customer service is service that is so good that the customer finds it important to them and tells others about it.
I was very fortunate, my father taught me what Renowned Customer Service was when I was 17 years old.
My father taught valuable lessens one of two ways. By example or by experience. Unfortunately for me one snowy Christmas eve in central Pennsylvania he taught me Renowned Customer Service through experience.
I was home from college on holiday vacation and working at the business with my dad. On the morning of Christmas Eve a customer of my fathers, a truck driver, came into the electronics store and purchased from my father our low end, leader black and white 19" diagonal television. A sale we lost $10 on. I asked my father why he did not sell the customer up to a model we made a profit on. He told me that the customer was a good truck tire customer, we also had a tire store, whose business was not doing very good at the time and in fact the man was delivering freight to the west cost over Christmas to make extra money and catch up on his bills. He then instructed me to deliver the television to the man's home after we closed at 6pm. Plus the television was a surprise for his wife and 4 children.
I left the store at 6pm that evening to deliver the surprise gift. It had been snowing most of the day and now there was a strong sleet storm hitting our area. The first mistake I made was not to wear a heavy winter coat. I figured that I would only be out of the warm truck a few minutes. When I arrived at the customers home I took the television out of the back of the truck, carried it up a dozen or so steps. Standing on the porch, that did not have a roof on it so I was being bombarded by snow and ice, I knocked on the door. A lady opened the door, I could see four small children in the living room sitting near a small Christmas tree. I told her I was from Janet's and had a television for her that her husband had purchased. She immediately told me I was making a mistake that they could not afford a television and her husband never would have made such a purchase. She them shut the door in my face.
I picked up the television, off the porch I went, down the steps and back into the truck. Now I knew I could not go home without at least telephoning my father first and telling him what had happened. So I went next door to one of her neighbors and asked to use the telephone. I called my father and he said. "Don’t come home before you deliver that television."
Back out in the snowy, icy weather I went, into the truck, back to the customers house, out of the truck, hauling the television up the steps and on to the poach. I knocked on the door. This time when the lady came to the door she did not open it so I had to talk through the glass. I told her I had telephoned my father and I was not mistaken, the television was for her. She again told me I was making a mistake and told me to get off her porch or she would call the police.
Off the porch, down the steps, through the snow and ice. I was now freezing. Back in the truck. Back to the neighbors to call my father again. I again told him of my problem and all he said was "Deliver the television" and he hung up on me.
I sat out in front of the customers house for a while trying to think of what I could say to her to get her to accept delivery. Then a police car pulled up beside me. She had called the cops! The police office motioned for me to come over to his window, he was not about to get out in the snow and ice storm, the weather had now developed into. I told him what was going on and he said while finally getting out of his warm cruiser, "Get the TV and come with me." We went back up the steps and on the porch. He knocked on the door, got the lady to let us in the house and said, "I know Janet's store very well and they usually do not make mistakes. Mr. Janet will sign that if in fact this is a mistake and this television was not purchased by your husband you get to keep it anyway.
After a bit more discussion she accepted the television.
When I arrived home, cold, wet and still freezing my father was sitting in front of a roaring fire drinking egg nog. I said in a demanding tone, "What the Hell was that all about." Before I could continue he looked at me and said, "We are 100% Customer-Centered. Everything we do is about and for the customer. NOT ABOUT US. We do not have good service we have 'renowned service'. I promised the customer we would deliver the television and we deliver what we promise. If you want to be successful selling products and services you will be 100% Customer-Centered. Not almost 100% - but 100%!!"
99.9 % is not good enough ….
.If it were in the USA….
* 12 newborn babies will be given to the wrong parents each day
* 114,500 mismatched pairs of shoes will be shipped a year
* 18,322 pieces of mail will be mishandled every hour
* 2,000,000 documents will be lost by the IRS this year
* 2.5 million books will be shipped with the wrong covers
* 315 entries in Webster's Dictionary will be misspelled
* 20,000 drug prescriptions will be filled incorrectly in a year
* 103,260 income tax returns will be processed incorrectly during the year
* 5.5 million cases of soft drinks produced will be flat
* 291 pacemaker operations will be performed incorrectly
* Two planes will crash each day at Chicago's O'Hare airport
10 Commandments of 100% Customer-Centered Service
1. The one who solves the customer’s needs, problems and wants the easiest for them will get the sale.
2. The customer is the most important person in our business.
3. The customer is the Boss, who can fire everyone.
4. The customer deserves all of our attention.
5. The customer is always right, never wrong.
6. The customer is the total purpose of our business.
7. The customer is doing us a favor when allowing us to serve them.
8. The customer’s feelings and emotions are of the most importance to us.
9. The customer is deserving of our most attentive treatment possible.
10. The customer is the only reason we (as a business) exist.
How can you afford to have a staff member give each customer the same 100% Customer-Centered Service?
You can't afford not to.