Let me tell you a story about some great customer service I received, and how what I learned can apply to your business and ours.
I had the most extraordinary customer service experience the other day in an unexpected place. I had a pair of pants that needed to be hemmed. I have had pants hemmed and suits altered a number of times over the years, but I can’t really recall anything specific about those circumstances. They weren’t bad experiences, but they weren’t memorable. Since I had no loyalty to any tailor, I went to the one closest to my house which happens to be Hong Kong Tailors in Homewood.
Red carpet treatment at Hong Kong Tailors
When I walked in the door, I was greeted by a very friendly woman who offered me a drink. She then took me to the mirror so that she could take my measurements and understand what I wanted. One of the first things I noticed was a large TV playing ESPN on the wall. Now I know almost nothing about the television viewing habits of middle aged asian women, but something tells me that the selection of ESPN had a lot more to do with my interest than it did hers. It struck me that she sits there for 8 hours a day watching a channel that she probably doesn’t care about so that I can be in a positive environment for my 5 minute visit.
When I returned to pick the pants up, the great customer service continued. I was offered a drink while I tried the pants on to make sure everything was perfect. When I left, the owner opened the door for me and carried my pants to the car. He even opened the door of my car for me. I can honestly tell you that I could have run that establishment for 100 years, and it never would have occurred to me to walk clients to the car and open the door for them. It was obvious that someone had applied focused thought on how they could take supreme care of the client at every turn.
Providing world class customer service
We spend a lot of time asking potential clients questions and listening so that we can understand their needs. We usually ask “What separates you from your competition?” Far and away the most common answer is customer service. There is just one problem with this: it’s impossible for everyone to be the best at customer service. One time, I met separately with two competitors. Both bragged about their outstanding customer service and told me that the other was notorious for terrible customer service. I truly believe that both believed what they were saying, but somehow they were much more in tune with their competitor’s faults than their own.
As I thought about my experience at Hong Kong Tailors, five things occurred to me that can apply directly to any business that is trying to make their clients Raving Fans.
- The defining characteristics of the experience had little to do with actually getting my pants hemmed, but if they had messed that up everything else would have been lost.
- They took the time to walk in their client’s shoes, and see the experience through my eyes.
- Even your lowest revenue clients have the potential to be loyal advocates for your business.
- It simply isn’t enough to avoid a bad experience. You have to surprise and delight your customers in order to make an impression.
- Most companies are capable of good customer service, but it takes enormous effort to have great customer service.
What does this mean for Infomedia?
The bottom line is that it is very, very hard to provide excellent customer service. If it was easy, everyone would do it. Most people agree that it is important, but it doesn’t seem to be quite important enough to allocate expensive time and resources.
At Infomedia, we had to take a hard look in the mirror to assess the service we are providing. Sometimes we have clients that are thrilled, but too often we miss the mark of excellence. In light of that, we are proud to announce that we are expanding our customer service team. Over the next few weeks I will highlight some of the new team members that we are bringing on board. We have been growing business for 19 years because of the loyalty of our customers and the many referrals given to us. Customer loyalty is one of our most valuable assets, and we have decided to make an additional investment in it.
If at any time, you have a less than satisfactory experience with Infomedia, I would personally appreciate a phone call or an email. I would also appreciate any general thoughts on your experience with Infomedia and how we can better delight our clients. You can reach me at 205-823-4440 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To our clients, thank you for your loyalty over the years. We commit to working hard every day in order to create raving fans and make this a great relationship.