When it comes to good service, it’s not always what you do for the customer, it’s how you make them feel. Making someone feel important and valued is one way to get them coming back time and time again. Let me give you a couple of different examples of this.
I took my car to my local dealership. I was greeted by a smiling receptionist who offered to take my coat, and took me to the waiting area, which was a purpose built coffee shop inside the dealership. She gave me one of her personal coffee vouchers (I know it wasn’t really her personal voucher but it was all part of the customer service and a free cup of coffee was welcomed on a cold Winter’s day in Durham). Sitting with a cup of coffee, I noticed there was a selection of the day’s newspapers, a TV was playing the latest news and there was even an X-Box plugged in and ready to go. When the work was complete, the Service Manager brought me the paperwork and walked me to the car, making sure he stayed a step in front of me so that he could courteously open the car door for me. Now, you may be thinking that they are only doing this because they were going to charge me a small fortune for an oil and filter change, but does that really matter? Is it better to pay a little more, be treated like a gentleman, and most importantly, be happy knowing the job has been done right and on time? I think it is.
A few months later a warning light illuminated my dashboard so I took the car to a small workshop which was on my route to work. I went there because they had been recommended by a friend who had been using them for years. I now know why he has remained so loyal to this workshop. This was a different type of customer service but again, it made me feel as if I was important to them. The owner greeted me with a smile, told me a little story about what happened on his journey to work, then explained what they would do to get my car running properly. There was no cup of tea offered, and no heating in the office but for half an hour he made me feel as if we were best friends. The sceptics among us would say that he was only being friendly to make it harder for me to complain if anything went wrong, but I disagree. In fact, when I went back he greeted me with a warm handshake and asked if my son had passed his Maths test. I vaguely remembered mentioning it when we spoke earlier that morning, so for him to remember that and seem genuinely interested made me feel like a valued customer. He went on to explain how they had fixed my car and even showed me the part they had replaced. I left with a feeling of satisfaction and the knowledge that I had made a good contact.
These are two very different stories, but both of them illustrate one of the most important aspects of good customer service, making the customer feel important and valued. Of course, I’ve also been to places where the customer service left a lot to be desired, but I can’t even remember the name of some of them, and that’s my point. Customers will forget what you said, even what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.