I would like to tell two very different stories about customer service that have helped shape my own philosophy.
Story One: Steve
In January 2018, I took my son to Lismore for a cricket carnival. Most of the families who had travelled from the Illawarra stayed at the one hotel. As it was January, it was hot. At the end of each day, we would return to the hotel, and parents and kids would get in the pool to cool off. The last day of the carnival was no exception with regard to the weather. It was well on its way to 35 degrees as all the families checked out of the hotel, filled up their eskies with ice and headed off to the final match. We knew the game would finish around 2 pm, during the heat of the day, and we all knew we had a long journey back to Wollongong that afternoon, a prospect we were not looking forward to. As the match got underway, I received a message from the owner of our hotel inviting us all to come back to the hotel for a swim in the pool to cool off before we started our journeys home. This lifted our spirits considerably, and after the match, some of us took the owner up on his offer.
Thank you, Steve, from the AZA Hotel in Lismore. You are a champion.
Story 2: ‘Trish’
Story two goes like this. A couple of years ago, based on a recommendation, I enlisted the services of a web designer. For the sake of this story, let’s call her Trish. While my initial engagement with Trish was positive, I soon found myself chasing her for updates on progress. She was very quick to send invoices and indicate that she wouldn’t commence work until I had paid the invoice, but not as fast to respond to support requests. At one stage Trish admitted she had forgotten to complete some work for me as she was about to close down her business and go and work for someone else. She then finished the job and sent me a note advising I had one-month after-sales service, after which I was on my own. I did have a couple of issues with the site and contacted Trish. To one of the inquiries I received a short response with a link to a tutorial and to the other I received no answer but eventually observed the issue had been resolved.
Needless to say, I do not recommend Trish and at one point actively discouraged a peer from using her. I now recommend someone else when it comes to web design.
For Steve, it cost him nothing other than a little bit of his time, access to some change rooms and the laundering of a few extra towels to make a bunch of kids and adults very happy. The effect is that he has people recommending him and his hotel for many years to come and repeat business.
For Trish, she closed down her business to work for someone else. Time invested in knowing what her clients needed, rather than seeing them just as a source of income, could have generated the same effect as Steve’s action.
If you are in the business of providing a service to customers, there’s a good chance a cost-efficient, or even cost-neutral way exists of ‘going the extra mile’ for them, demonstrating you have a true customer focus. For me, as a coach, that focus is demonstrated by being available. If my clients want to talk to me in between formal sessions, then I allocate time to do that. I also check in with them when I know they have something important going on that we have discussed in the session. The feedback I get is that they appreciate knowing they are supported and that I am there for them when they need it.
How do you value add to your customers? Please leave your comments below and share your tips for making your clients feel valued.
If you would like to discuss any aspect of leadership, coaching or mentoring, or maximising your potential, then please feel free to contact me at Campbell Leadership Solutions.