Over the last few weeks, I have had some amazing customer service stories to tell.
I love good customer service. Don’t you?
Customer service seems to be on a decline. Maybe we don’t teach. Maybe we aren’t going to the right places or something. I could give you a list perhaps but I am not sure it would change things. In a world where the slightest thing seems to push people to protests and negativity, there has to be something else.
Don’t we want to have great customer service?
Admittedly, I grew up in a generation that thought customer service was not an oxymoron. One of my first jobs was working a gas station. I was 9 years old. I learned early on that if I washed the windshield, checked the oil, fluids and tire pressure, I would often receive a tip. Taking care of people had benefits. People came back.
I always look for people I can trust and people I can continually do business with. When I first moved to Keene, New Hampshire, I did not have a mechanic. My move was pretty rapid and I left people behind that I had done business with for years. I asked a friend from my church where he would go. He recommended a place called Dubes. I went there and I required some repairs to get an inspection done. He has had me for 6 years. He now works on both my cars and the vehicles of my children who live here in Keene. I have sent so many friends to him, it is astounding. (Recently I was going on vacation and I had a brake issue He dropped me off, put gas in the car and said pay me when you get home.)
My wife and I recently celebrated our 25th. It was a big deal on many fronts. My daughter, Amy, is an event planner (AJ Petit Events) and she coordinated so much. Bakeries for the cake, flowers and decor, while I worked on the DJ (My friends who did an amazing job.), the photographer and the venue. (Our party was at a place in Keene, called Stonewall Farms. I think the place is beautiful.) Our photographer Melissa did a great job with our requests. You can check out her work here.
And restaurants? In a college town with lots of chain restaurants and such I tend to go to smaller restaurants. Here are a couple of my weekly visits.
When I go into a restaurant and the waitress knows my order when I haven’t been in for weeks…well, that is pretty impressive. There is a little restaurant in Swanzey named Jeannes. When I walk in there she knows my drink and my order. That is worth going back to.
I got another coffee shop a couple of times a week. The name of the place is Elm City Bagels. I go in there because it has a hometown clientele. The young woman at the counter is always there with a smile on her face. Going there reminds me of the coffee shop I went to as a young person. And smiling people? Makes me want to come back.
Lastly, a small breakfast place that cranks out the food. The Pub in Keene. Each week I sit down to a small breakfast with a friend. Each week the waitress is right there with my coffee and water with lime. The place is always full. College kids, young parents, and seniors fill the booths and tables. The cheerfulness makes it worthwhile.
I like bright, cheerful waitstaff, but the person who cleans the place and buses table with a smile is just as important to me.
There are a lot of places I go and perhaps more that I don’t visit. If people are not cheery, quality means nothing nor does the price.
For our 25th anniversary, I bought my wife a new car from the local Ford dealership. It had been a few years since I visited a dealership. The way dealers do business over the years has become much better. I called ahead and told them my wife was coming down. She met a young man, named Jason. They took her out in the car. My instructions were simple. Let her drive it. That was it. No money talks or anything. I had already lined up my finances with my local credit union. All I needed to do was make sure my wife liked it and I would do the rest. A day later, we had a new car. Great customer service.
I hope you have similar experiences. I will tell you that if I get bad service I will let them know. I will give them the opportunity to resolve. I usually get great service. It has been a while since I had a truly bad response from a business. I had taken my bike in for repairs and storage. Part of my request was o have my bike ready for spring. Repairs, inspected and that was it. 5 months my bike sat in the shop. I went to pick it up. The repairs had not been done and the inspection not done. I was disappointed. I asked the manager to come outside to have a conversation. He berated me and asked me “what do you want me to do?” I said”nothing” and walked away. Right down to another place. I spent over $500 with them. Last year over $1,500. I send friends to them ALL the time.
My last great experience just keeps getting better and better. I met the Tim, the owner of Beeze Tees. Recently, I decided to put together some shirts and hats for our business here, Positive News For You. Working with their sales person Kyle has been a great experience. We have recently worked through logos, viewed samples of products and they have been top notch.
As a business owner I want to be the best and I look for the best.
If you are a business owner like myself, you most likely have heard this that a “bad customer” will tell 10. In this day and age, a bad customer can touch the world. Restaurants have gone out of business, stores closed all over the power of the internet. It takes an average of 12 good customer responses to offset one bad one. And with less than 4% of people telling a company of their disappointment that makes it even harder. When we are lucky to get 20% of the new buyers to purchase, the number triples for an existing customer.
I don’t expect everyone to change, but I am glad for the ones that do.
I would love to hear your positive customer service stories.
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