Let Your Customer Service Be Your Marketing Department

Sharon, Hayden, and I arrived in Vancouver and had a blast shopping in Gastown, relaxing at Granville Island, and taking in the extraordinary views, Grizzly Bears, and Bald Eagles at Grouse Mountain. We then drove to Seattle where we watched the Mariners down the Athletics at Safeco Field. I was excited to visit Seattle because it is home to the world’s first Starbucks store and as we made our way there this morning I was wondering what I would post in my blog this week about our trip so far. That’s when I came across a little shop called the Piroshky Bakery situated next door to the original Starbucks (Pirosky and original Starbucks logos in the picture below).

Piroshky

The Piroshky bakery was started in October 1992 by the Kotelnikov family. The word Piroshky originates from the Russian word “pir” which means feast. It is a hand held meal in the form of a stuffed pie with a variety of fillings. The little shop was packed and the smell of the bakery was delicious – we couldn’t resist trying a Piroshky for ourselves.

Upon entering the store you quickly learn from the pictures on the wall that it’s a family business and that they take pride in what they do. After ordering our two stuffed pies I met Brian who I handed my Visa card to. Unfortunately Brian made the mistake of overcharging my credit card $90 for what should have been a $10 purchase. It was explained to me that they had just received the new credit card processing machine this week and he didn’t know how to issue a refund.

Brian

Brian was very empathetic and apologized for the mistake. After dealing with some merchants who wouldn’t take credit cards at all and others who insisted that I have exact change only, I wasn’t too frustrated. Nonetheless, Brian called Vadim in to help fix the issue.

Vadim quickly refunded me the full amount and then to my surprise said that the two pies were on the house because of the two minutes that I had to wait in line for him to come and issue the refund. I found myself thinking back to earlier in the day when we stood in a long lineup at Nordstrom without even an acknowledgment from the cashier when I arrived to pay. The woman behind me remarked “I’ve never waited in line so long for someone to take my money!” Vadim not only exceeded my expectations, he then also threw in another dessert pie on the house!

Vadim

I knew at that moment that I had a topic for the blog. How many times have we all had to wait in long lines at retail stores only to be rudely met by a cashier who wants to rush you out so they can go on their lunch break? Meeting the folks at the Piroshky bakery was a refreshing change and served as a reminder that providing good customer service can be all the marketing that your company needs. We all think that we probably provide good service but you might be surprised at how some of your customers feel.

There is a reason why there was a lineup outside the Piroshky bakery – they not only have great tasting food but they take care of their customers. When was the last time you wowed your clients with amazing service? Sure the bakery lost out on my $10 but they’ve more than made up for it with the people I’ve told to go visit them.

Instead of spending more money on marketing efforts, consider investing it into your customer service. An over the moon happy customer will be a client for life and bring in more new business for you, at a much cheaper cost, than any slick marketing campaign.

Can you think of any examples of great customer service that made you want to tell people about the company?

About the Author

I #Believe in entrepreneurs.

14 Responses to “Let Your Customer Service Be Your Marketing Department”

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  10. TannyL says:

    Hi Evan,
    I can think about a few, online and offline.
    I always prefer better customer support, even if the price is a little high, it worth it.

  11. Chaa says:

    another great article for entrepreneurs. without customers, businesses cannot exist therefore it is of fundamental importance to treat customers as queens and kings.

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  13. […] By Evan Carmichael on September 15th, 2009 // (Photo Credit: djwerdna) One of the most important initiatives that I’ve been championing within my business is customer service. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my trip to Seattle and the outstanding service that I received at a little shop called Piroshky Bakery (Let Your Customer Service Be Your Marketing Department). […]

  14. Kristy Weaver says:

    You said it perfectly, when great customer service is provided it can be all the marketing that a company needs. Everyone should look at the bigger picture in situations like yours, instead of thinking negatively on the situation of your card being overcharged you recognized the exceptional customer service that was provided to correct it. Everyone makes mistakes, how you deal with them is what people really notice. Thanks for this.

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