Now, it's my pleasure to tell you about a few examples of great customer service that I enjoyed recently and the valuable takeaway to keep in mind.
Story #1: A Little Extra Effort
Two of my kids and I were eating lunch at our hometown Chipotle.
I walked up near the cashier's side of the counter to get some extra sour cream – because, yeah, I consume too much sour cream.
The entire crew was very busy serving the lunch crowd. So, after waiting maybe a minute for an opening to talk with the cashier, I went back to my table, realizing that she would be tied up for a while.
Within a couple of minutes, Caroline the cashier came up to our table and said, "Hi, I saw you standing near the counter. Can I help you with something?"
I don't believe I had ever experienced that type of proactive service in a restaurant before. Caroline had an awareness of me as a customer - even though she was very busy - and then followed up as quickly as possible to see how she could help. And she did it with a sincere smile.
That may seem like a little thing, but so often with so many other types of businesses, I've seen much more obvious customer service opportunities pass by without a staff member seeming to care.
Story #2: A Very Valuable Effort
My wife called me one day in January to let me know that her van had just made "a serious noise" and that it didn't want to move.
Broken rear axle.
We had it towed to a shop that a few friends recommended - Continental Service. John from Continental called me an hour later with good news: our vehicle had been recalled a few months before we bought it because of the axle issue.
John's research - and his commitment to helping his customers - saved us $1,100.
He saved us an additional $300 when he realized that another problem with the van was likely caused by the tow truck. The towing company agreed and paid for the repair.
By that point, I was falling head-over-heels in love with John.
A few weeks after repairing our vehicle and saving us a load of loot in the process, we received a card from John thanking us for our business.
An actual thank you card! From an auto repair shop! Have you ever even dared to dream of such a thing?
Both Caroline and John went above and beyond to help me. Yes, one "just" brought me a cup of sour cream and the other saved me $1,400, but I wrote this blog post about both of them. I've told friends about both. I contacted Chipotle Corporate to share the story about Caroline, and I offered to work with John on some of his marketing free of charge because I wanted to help him as he had helped me.
Outstanding customer service is so rare these days that it's almost shocking to those who experience it. It can produce in people an instant lifelong connection with a brand. And in the two examples above, the extra effort didn't cost either company a dime.
Marketing and advertising are essential for your business, but even the best marketing and advertising won't guarantee your success. Make sure those efforts are always driving your audience to a positive, memorable customer experience; one worth talking about! That's what'll keep your customers coming back and perpetuating the best advertising of all: great word-of-mouth.
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