big impact on customer service

A Little Effort Can Have a Major Impact on Customers

Ever since starting this blog, oh so many moons ago, I’m frequently talking with my friends and family (and often strangers) about the impact on customers  of good/bad service and what exactly is a great customer experience. What I’m noticing more and more is the lower and lower our bar is to great business engagement. It’s like we’re becoming numb to being treated badly (now this is sounds like a relationship blog…which actually…it is).

“He smiled at me.” “It was awesome, they actually brought my food to my table.” Should this be the standard of great service?

What companies can learn from this is it doesn’t take much to wow your customers. Should you go that extra mile, providing service above and beyond (cliche alert)? Absolutely. But you should also look at the little things of how you interact with your customers daily. Are you leaving the best impression you can? Is there anything you could be doing more to add value to their day?

I took a look at my past week’s interactions with businesses and two good, and one not so good, examples happened:

1)    Starbucks (good) – I bought one of those eco-friendly, hygiene questionable recyclable cups for my daily coffee. I went to the Starbucks closest to my work (Fort and Blanshard), for a refill but before they gave me what I paid for, they filled my cup with hot water. Yep, they didn’t have to, but they made sure my coffee cup was warmed up before adding the liquid caffeine. Did they have to? Nope. Am I happy they did? Yep.

2)    Bank of Montreal (good) – they are continual targets for jokes but don’t discount the value of a “greeter”. Obviously they come  in different forms, with some more dedicated to the job (Walmart, Home Depot) than others. At BMO, the person running the front counter help desk always makes a point of saying “hello” when I enter (unless they’re engaged with a customer) and “have a great day” when I leave. It’s a small touch that adds to my time with them.

3)    Go Daddy (bad) – I use them for when I’m looking to buy domain names (the latest being…stay tuned). Recently they’ve been trying to get a hold of me over the phone, even actually catching me at a bad time. What’s the “small thing” they didn’t do? Tell me why they were calling. Whether it’s good news or bad news, you need to give me a reason to talk to you, otherwise you’re just interrupting my day. Even when I actually talked to someone and literally said: “It’s not a good time to talk right now and I’ll try to call you back, but it’s not like you’re telling me what this phone call is about so I’m not really enticed to call you back”…nothing. Hey Go Daddy, I served it up on a platter and you didn’t do the littlest thing: answer the “why should I care” question.

When selling a product or a service, a successful businesses understand that it’s about engaging with a person, not just a transaction. Since I love a good customer service story, I asked some of my friends to share their “little effort, big impact” stories.

Suzuki used to send me a birthday card – I appreciated that and the fact that they didn’t use to remind me to come in for servicing. – Scott aka @ScottinVictoria

Long & McQuade. Kiddo busted a string on her (rental) cello the night before a concert. We got there less than 30 minutes before closing but they made sure it was fixed before they closed…and because it was a rental, the replacement cost was covered. – Cheryl aka @VicTriviaQueen

Island Meat & Seafood. When I asked if they had rack of lamb, they didn’t but the first awesome thing was that they said the next time they got one they would call me (I got a call the next day). The second was that when the owner called to say it was ready, he told me how I should cook it and when I picked it up, he had written the instructions again on the package. Love that place! – Erin aka @erinrschaff

After the move of my belongings from Victoria to the U-Pak warehouse, I returned the U-Haul truck in South Surrey. Wondered aloud why I was charged $10 for the utility dolly when the dolly itself says $7. The staff said she didn’t have control over that but put in the notes that I returned the truck within the 24 hour period, thus saving me the $40 extra day charge. Was a very nice surprise!” – Melanie aka @scribbler9

Thanks to everyone for sharing their stories, though I’d say most of those are more than “little things”. What’s a little bit of effort that a business has made for you that made a big impression? Please share in the comments.


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