Why Customer Service starts way after the Initial Purchase
Only two sleeps before Christmas..
The year has flown by.
The tree is up downstairs. Lights are on. Tinsel glittering as they change from red to blue to yellow..
Gift cards, Apple gift cards, Apple TV’s, books, makeup, clothing and other stuff lay wrapped around the tree ready to surprise and delight on Christmas morning.
I’ve been in and out of shops getting all sorts of variations in Customer Service.
Some surprise with their interest, friendliness and product knowledge (like at Specsavers and Apple) and some surprise with their lack of interest, friendliness and clear desire to do the bare minimum and collect their hourly rate (read large Department store I shall not name..)
Talking of Customer Service Surprise and Delight..
My darling wife’s car was broken into the other night…
Driver side window.. car unlocked.
They’d broken the window, put their hand through the hole and got in.
The good thing was the only thing taken were two or three of her CD’s.. (so the thief did us a favor there.. How many times can a grown man listen to The Best of Abba at full blast?)
Cath had a full days Christmas shopping and end of year Kindy work to finish so it was not a good day to have to deal with the car window.
I too had a full day.
The stress barometer was high..
Now this is where the story gets interesting.
As many of you know, the best time to turn an ordinary customer into a raving fan is when they are in trouble, when they need help.
And this is where regular reader of this column and Senior Business Manager at City Toyota, Craig Bartrop comes into the picture.
The Shiny Red Yaris..
We bought Cath’s shiny red Toyota Yaris from City Toyota back in August.
They were terrific then. Made the whole process pretty easy and painless.. and a bit of fun with good humour as well.
Cath loves that little car..
How The Customer Service White Knight Didn’t Blink
When Cath rang Craig to tell him of her broken window situation, plus the fact she had the whole family coming over for Christmas day and still had a ton of shopping to do Craig didn’t blink, didn’t miss a beat.
‘It will take 4-6 weeks to get a new window in from Toyota Japan, but don’t worry, you just bring the car in here and we’ll swap it and give you a loan car for as long as you need it…’
Yes, no worries, you just bring the car in here and we’ll swap it and give you a loan car for as long as you need it…’
WOW…Now that’s Customer Service
Now that’s service..
Cath has been on my back for the last few days saying ‘make sure you write about Craig this week…
My Wife the Raving Fan.
My darling wife Catherine has become what ‘One Minute Manager’ author Dr Ken Blanchard calls a ‘Raving Fan..’
A Raving Fan is someone who is not just a customer, but also an advocate, a promoter, a powerful asset to your business.
International Consulting firm Bain and Co has developed a whole system called the Net Promoter System.
Bain and Co research has found:
- Companies with the highest customer loyalty typically increase revenues at more than twice the rate of competitors
- Customers who rated a company high on the “likely to recommend” scale, known as promoters, buy more, stay longer, refer friends and provide useful feedback/new ideas
Saving Us Again with Christmas Cards
Then tonight as we stopped off at Swanbourne IGA to pick up some ice cream she turned raving again.
She had asked if they had any of those little Christmas cards you use to write small messages on when you give a gift.
The fellow at the cashier then went and looked high and low looking in the store then made a special effort to go way out the back to find the last packet
Cath just told me then he looked for at least 10 minutes, coming back every couple of minutes to tell her what he was doing.
She was over the moon with the Customer Service VIP treatment she got..
So then she said, ‘make sure you write about that great customer service too.’
The sale was only $1.10 for the 24 cards but IGA Swanbourne now have another raving fan out there marketing for them.
It was another example of someone going the extra mile to help out a customer with a need, a problem, an itch to scratch.
It’s the knight on the white horse.
It’s the lifesaver throwing the buoy to the floundering swimmer.
The time to create gold level customer loyalty is when they have a need, a problem, an emergency.
You build incredible bonds of loyalty in those moments.
But your people have got to be tuned in and trained to recognise these golden customer service opportunity moments.
Craig could just as easily said ‘It’s only a few days before Christmas. We’re about to go to Christmas lunch. Bring your car in after Christmas and we’ll see what we can do..’
But he didn’t.
He was tuned into the value of Platinum level customer service.
(Which is why City Toyota has won Toyota service awards year after year)
Who’s the Boss?
“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”
Sam Walton, Founder of Wal-Mart
Craig may or may not see the customer as the boss, but he certainly gets a kick out of making people’s day.
He even has the Smiley Face and ‘have a nice day..’ on the back of his business card.
In fact, now that I think about it, he showed me that he has the same value and commitment tattooed on the inside of his arm..
This guy really does want his customers to have a nice day..
Anyway, thank you for being a reader of this column over the past year.
I hope you’ve got value, insight, inspiration or motivation to innovate, improve, enhance your business and life from some of these words.
Have a wonderful, healthy and safe Christmas and I’ll speak to you in the New Year.
PS: If you get value from these columns please feel free to share them with friends and colleagues or get them to sign up for the FREE weekly emails.
May your Customer Service produce more Raving Fans.