Good morning, and a very happy Friday. WHOOHOO!
So everyone has heard that the early bird gets the worm… well, today’s story isn’t about the “early” bird. Frankly, it isn’t about the bird who squeaks in under the buzzer, or even about the bird that might have thought about being early but really just showed up accidentally on time. It’s about the bird that intentionally does what they say they will do. GASP. You mean that there are people in the world who don’t do what they say?! Great Scott…
Yes, friends, it’s true. The world is full of unreliable, flakey, undependable, selfish people who place their own interests above everyone else, which isn’t in and of itself a horrible thing, but when you’re in business, you better get your priorities straight. There is no room for selfishness when your customers depend on you and how you interact with them. Customer service and dependability is truly the straw that broke the camel’s back.
If you say you’re going to call (after an appointment was made) at 2 PM and my phone rings at 3:59 with no prior notice, no apology, and not even the decency of letting me know a conflict came up, my business is going elsewhere. If I make an appointment to look at tuxes at 1 PM and you don’t acknowledge our presence until 1:10 – I’m out. Common courtesy is sorely missing in our culture. Truly, it’s not that hard to say “We are slammed at the moment but will be with you in a minute” or better yet “I know we have an appointment scheduled but let me finish this customer” or the greatest, “I’m so sorry to have made you wait, how can I help solve XX problem?” AMAZING! If people just did that, I’m convinced that the average blood pressure in America would be lower by 30%. OK, maybe that’s a bit far, but you get the idea.
Let me be very clear – I am dealing with several huge events this year, none of which I’ve experienced before. I don’t have time to tolerate your crappy customer service because I barely have time for the things I need to accomplish! All I need is one micro, itty bitty, seemingly unimportant reason to not work with you, and that’s exactly what will happen.
On the flip side, there have been three shining examples of birds (read: businesses) that do exactly what they said they will, exactly when they said they would do it, and don’t stop assisting me until it’s exactly what I was expecting the outcome to be! HOW REFRESHING!
Shining Customer Service Examples
- USAA @usaa – This insurance company primarily serves military families, and those fortunate to be grandfathered in. There’s a reason that 12/10 (see what I did there) customers are 95% likely to stay with them for life. They do what they say! Granted, I do pay a slight premium, but for absolutely stellar customer service, it’s worth every penny. I have auto and renter’s insurance through them, perform all my banking, and am soon going to have a home mortgage as well. They absolutely kick ass! Each phone representative is thoughtful, considerate, and genuinely interested in helping me out. Bravo!
- Zappos @zappos – This Las Vegas based “shoe store” (which has now grown into a huge clothing/accessory conglomerate) is known for zany, funky customer service. Clearly, their employees have fun! Seriously, call them sometime. Awesome. It’s easy to purchase products, they have shopping assistants who are more than willing to offer up opinions, and again, top notch customer service. They even sent me a refund for shoes that I accidentally mailed back to them. Catch was, I hadn’t purchased those shoes from them either. Yes, I was that dumb.
- Home Depot @thehomedepot – Everyone knows this bright and vivacious orange company, and for good reason. They’re the best at home improvement products, services, and assistance. They hire bright and cheerful associates who, frankly, can be somewhat intimidating based on their breadth of knowledge, they’re great at walking you to the product aisle that you need, and make sure that you get exactly what you need (not always the same as what you’re looking for). Even something as simple as exchanging products that I don’t need even when I can’t find my receipt is refreshing. LET’S DO THIS!
Setting yourself apart in the world isn’t terribly difficult. You need to be punctual, work with integrity, show enthusiasm, don’t lie, and be considerate of other’s time more than your own. Do that and you will stand as a shining star. Don’t do that, and your name is sure to be tainted faster than you can say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
[P.S. that word is officially in spell checker! AWESOME.]