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The other evening my car died a mile from my house. After trying the usual things, I called on AAA to tow the car to the closest dealer - one with whom I was familiar but not one with whom I had previous dealings. About 9:30 p.m., I filled out the “key drop” envelope and left it in the depository.
I was delighted to receive a phone call the next morning at 8 a.m. from the dealer’s service manager. He informed me that the fuel pump had gone out. They had a replacement and could have it repaired for me by noon that day. Then at 10:30 a.m. another call advised me that my car was ready to pick up, an hour and a half before they had indicated. Wow! All of that, and I had not even had to make a phone call.
Then the following night, our family had dinner at a national Italian restaurant chain (initials. O.G.), our 9-year-old grandson’s favorite spot, to celebrate the fact he had just achieved his black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Well, sometimes service in national chain restaurants can be less than ideal. But this night we were treated to exceptional service. Our waitress worked with us to order several “off the menu” entrees, sincerely seemed to enjoy serving us, and truly made us feel like we were the only table she was serving. The waitress actually stopped and spent a few moments talking to our grandson, acknowledging his accomplishment of earlier that day.
COMMON THREADIn today’s world to receive exceptional service two days in a row is really unusual. Since our company is in the service business, I like to watch the way service is provided by other service companies. And so unusual were these two examples of service that I had to stop and analyze what made the service we received these two times so exceptional.
There were things that seemed to be common among the services provided. I believe the most important common thread in both cases is the fact that there were excellent communications between the provider and the customer. I was called early regarding the car repair that was needed and then I was called earlier than expected that the car was ready. I didn’t need to call at any time to check on the status of my repair. And at the restaurant, the waitress’ willingness to take time to talk with us as we were ordering and also to talk to our grandson made the whole experience enjoyable.
Additionally, in both of these instances, the people providing the service were extremely friendly and gave the impression they were truly happy to be serving us. They also both were very knowledgeable about the products they were selling. How often are we served by people who have obviously not done their homework regarding the items and services their company provides, and even worse are rude, unfriendly and act like they are doing us a favor?
There are certainly some messages here that we can take to the heating and cooling business. The first is communications. We must make sure we communicate with our customers as frequently as necessary to make them comfortable. And during these communications, we should not only be friendly and positive, we should give the customer the impression that at that time they are the only customer with whom we are dealing. We need to make sure that the individuals we have dealing with customers are well trained in the services and products we provide.
And probably most important, during all of the interaction we have with our customers, we need to make sure that we give them the impression that we are happy to be serving them.
Despite the good service I experienced, there is still a lot of bad service going on out there. Therefore, if we take these examples and use them to improve our customer service, we too will stand out from our competition.
Publication date: 05/18/2009