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The Eyes Of Your Customer

114472004_7d7b437da31Over the holidays, I visited a new movie theater.  Theaters have really come a long way.  This theater must have cost multiple millions of dollars to build.  The entire area where this brand new theater sits now was once solid rock.  From the parking lot, you look up at least 50 feet at solid stone.  From the outside, it looks like a Vegas night club…it’s beautiful.  Inside, you’ll find flat screen concession menus and gourmet coffee bars, hardwood floors, etc.  Nothing was spared.  I couldn’t wait to see the inside of the theater.  But as I went inside, I was surprised to see that maybe half of the chairs still had drinks from earlier movies…boxes of old candy and popcorn in the chairs…and tons of popcorn and drinks in the floor.  Seriously, it looked there had been a food fight.  I could not help but think how much time, effort, money and attention to details had gone into developing this new theater.  The owners spared no expense and had obviously tried to create a wonderful atmosphere for taking in a movie.  And yet something as basic as not keeping it clean left customers feeling gross as they had to move spilled drinks to sit down.  I say let’s give them benefit of the doubt that it was an off night and not a regular occurrence. 

But how often do you go inside of a brand name fast food restaurant that someone has invested a fortune in only to find they’ve hired scary looking people to prepare your food or that the place is so dirty that you are worried about what’s inside your burger or taco?

The lesson is this:  See your business through the eyes of your customer.  Walk in for the first time again or ask others to do it for you, and look for the first things your customers will see.  Go through your entire business, web site, store front, etc. and ask yourself if a first time visitor would be impressed or not. 

Take away:  Don’t let your hard work be threatened by obvious things that turn off customers.

“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.”  ~ Muhammad Ali


Do You See What I See?

christmas-rushThe Christmas season brings a great opportunity for those of us in any sort of customer service business…if you are looking for it.  Over the next two weeks everyone is out, streets and stores are jam packed with people.  Everyone is in a hurry.  People are trying to find that perfect gift and the last two stores just sold the last one…nerves are on edge to say the least.  On top of that, this season brings a lot of emotion.  It is a reminder of both good and bad things that have happened in our lives throughout the year.   People are at their best and their worst…at the same time.

So what does this have to do with customer service?  It presents a HUGE opportunity.   You may come across more potential new customers and referrals in the next two weeks than you do in the next six months.  These new customers are tired and are probably not giving you benefit of the doubt based on their less than excellent experience with other businesses.  Perfect. 

Now is the time for you to take your game up a notch.  This is when you take your energy level up, when you happen to things instead of letting them happen to you.  If someone has a problem, you are their answer.  If they come in three minutes before you close for the night, you are going to treat them like they are your first customer of the day.  If someone leaves you a voice mail, you are going to jump at the chance to call them back in minutes or even seconds.  You are going to be the person that fixes the problem no matter what the problem is or whose fault the problem is.  THIS IS YOUR TIME.

By doing this, you are going to stand out like a light in the darkness.  People are going to be telling all of their friends how you bent over backwards to help them, and how you refused to take anything extra for it because its just the way you do business.

Take Away:  Go out of your way to show people how much you care even when they are not always at their best.

“One way to achieve your goal is to make it a solution to someone else’s problem.”

I Am Thankful For Great Customer Service: 2 sightings

logoGreat Customer Experience Sighting #1:  BIG 40th anniversary party at my house last week for my wife’s parents…catering, candles, the whole nine yards.  Everything was on track until I realized all of our under counter lights were out…and these bulbs are impossible to find.  But then I called Frank @ Sarai Lighting Gallery in Columbia TN.  Not only did he have the bulbs, but he drove 20 miles to my house and put them in just to make sure they were the correct ones.  Seriously…that is over the top!  These guys have done things like this for me before.  If they work long distance, you won’t find a company with more of a heart for serving the customer than Frank & his team.

keys_smGreat Customer Experience Sighting #2:  Took our family Suburban to Miles Auto Spa to have it cleaned (5 kids) for our Thanksgiving trip.  The $29 package always does what I need but this time it was especially dirty and I was eyeing the $69 package.  “How much longer does the $69 package take than the $29 package”, I asked.  “About 25 minutes.” said the guy.  I didn’t have that much time and was disappointed.  They were obviously very busy and it wasn’t his fault that I didn’t have time for the pricier package.  “Stay right here.” the guy said.  In two minutes, “Miles” the owner of the entire place pulls around in his convertible BMW…yep, he said “Jump in!” and drove me back to my office so that I could get the package I wanted without the wait.  Now you know I couldn’t wait to get back and tell my friends about service like that!

Superbowl Tickets Are Cheap The Day After The Game

Hannah Montana tickets with a face value of about $50 went for hundreds, even thousands in some cases the day before the concert.  Fathers raced in high heels dressed as Hannah Montana trying to win tickets.  But the day after the concert, those tickets wouldn’t get you a cup of Starbucks.  Superbowl tickets on the 50 yard line are a lot more affordable after kick off, nearly free by the third quarter, and worthless when the game is over. 

Opportunity often only knocks once and it doesn’t always come with advance notice.  Did you know that a fussy customer is an awesome opportunity for some great advertising?  I once heard that if a kid at Disney World drops an ice cream cone, Disney team members don’t just get them a new cone, they get them a new cone stacked three scoops high!  Even if that is an exaggerated story, did you notice that I didn’t see it on a Disney commercial?  True or not…I heard it from other people

If you work with the public, you have undoubtedly dealt with the guy that wants his steak cooked “jusssst right” and sends it back three times.  Those customers usually show up when you have already had a tough day.  It crosses your mind to tell him to just go back there and do it himself if he’s so picky.  🙂  But I want to challenge you to see that moment as a fleeting opportunity to convert him into your own personal Disney story.  The more obnoxious he is, the better, because that means he enjoys telling other people what he thinks.  Go out of your way to capture the opportunity, to exceed his expectations.  After all, he is going to tell the next ten friends he sees something about his night out at your restaurant.  Why not deputize him and everyone at his table to brag on how you blew them away and seized the moment?

Take Away:  Every customer is a brief opportunity to evangelize your community.

How can something so simple be so powerful?

I had something hit me this week.  I guess I’ve known it all along, and I’m sure others have said it a thousand times; but you know how things just sometimes “click” all of a sudden?  That happened to me this week.

It was this:  You can become exactly the person you want to be by deciding how you treat others.  Maybe it’s better stated, “You WILL BECOME the way you treat other people.”  WOW.  Want to be more generous?  Start doing generous things.  Want to become impatient?  Start being short with people who don’t get it the very first time.  It really is that simple and it really is that powerful. 

The beauty of this principle is that you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to use it to your benefit.  I can literally go from being a negative person to being a positive person just by saying positive things and looking for positive things in the lives of others.  I’m not talking about merely appearing more positive…I mean it will become the new me!

Unfortunately, there is no way to opt out of the power of this principle.  When someone refuses to let me over in traffic, I still get mad like everyone else; but I will get over it.  They, however, just became a little bit more like the behavior they chose.  Their impatience actually harmed them more than it harmed me.  In other words, when people choose to be rude to you, or critical, or say things that are not true about you…it really does harm them more than it does you.  

So how does that have anything to do with business or customer service?  The tie-in is that I can let the mis behavior of others roll off easier.  And I can literally become anything I want to become (wise, patient, discerning, insightful, ambitious, honest, successful, etc.) just by training myself to think that way and by treating others that way. 

“Nurture your mind with great thoughts.  To believe in the heroic makes heroes.”  ~ Benjamin Disraeli

“All truths are easy to understand once discovered.  The point is to discover them.”  ~ Galileo Galilei

Catch Somone Doing Right And Have A Great Weekend

Never tell a person that anything cannot be done.  God may have been waiting centuries for someone ignorant enough of the impossible to do that very thing.  — John Andrew Holmes

Sometimes You Want To Go Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Dale Carnegie says that the sweetest & most important sound on earth to a person is his or her name.  And there’s no better place to see that statement play out than in business.  I had this happen to me just yesterday. 

I ordered a prescription online from the local Walgreens.  On my way home, I pulled in to go through the drive through and pick it up.  Now you should know that at most I stop at this Walgreens once a month if not less.  I had already been impressed several times by the two pharmacists.  Not only are they over the top helpful, never once given me a look like I’m an idiot just because I don’t know the difference in x and x; but the last few times I’ve pulled up at the drive through, both of these pharmacists have called me by my name when they greeted me.  I was impressed!  Did I care if they have a system in place to help them know my name?  Not a chance!  It made me feel important that they knew who I was.  Because of this one thing, I only shop at this specific Walgreens even though there are several in the area.  But back to my story…yesterday I pulled in and no one was waiting at the window.  Hey, it’s not their job to wait for me to drive up too, right?  Wrong.  Before I could put my truck in park, the pharmacist stepped into the window with my prescription in hand and then greeted me by name.  I was floored.  “I saw you pull in the parking lot Mr. Galloway.”  he said. 

    No amount of marketing or discounts could pull me away from being a Walgreens customer now.  What an awesome reminder of how going just a little above and beyond the call of duty mixed with using a person’s name can sear loyalty into the hearts of your clients. 

Don’t miss the chance to win business for life with your clients this week!

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