Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Superior Customer Service

I've noticed that many business owners are willing to stay late, bend over backwards, and go the extra mile when it comes to customer service. One of the challenges a business owner has is trying to instill the same level of service and commitment they have for their customers onto their hourly employees.

I have been to many stores where employees have locked doors or put up closed signs a few minutes early in an effort to get out of work and close up shop quickly. Part of me can see where they are coming from, but it sends a bad message to their customers.

I once ate a resort in Vegas with some friends and when we asked the server if we could have separate checks, he said "sure, but it's a real pain in the ass." I found it ironic that they had little tent cards on the table boasting of their friendly service.

I was recently at a food establishment with my wife and we got there about 15 minutes before closing. While we were eating, I noticed several employees cleaning up and packing food away quickly so they could close the store for the evening. They were not rude about it or anything, but I'm sure if the owner was cleaning up the store, they would have been more subtle about it and would not want to send the unspoken message of "get out of here, we want to go home."

I work with insurance companies regularly and some companies consistently have helpful, knowledgeable, and friendly service. Progressive is one of these companies. Other companies have developed reputations of poor service and I dread it when I have to call them. I believe customer service is a "trickle down" concept and you can tell which business owners put a high priority on helping their employees provide better service for their customers.

One of my favorite things to do is to tell management when they have great customer service or if their employees are doing a good job. I frequently ask to speak with managers at a businesses. Many times the employees get nervous since when most people make this request they just want to gripe and complain, but I enjoy seeing the relief when I give them a sincere compliment.

I challenge you to do the same and the next time you get great service, ask to speak to the manager and let them know when an employee is doing a good job.

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