Sometimes the difference between a good company and a great company is the smallest amount of extra effort they, which means their employees, do for the customer.
When you walk into a store, the employee standing behind the cash register looks at you and gives you a little nod, as if to say, “Hello.” How hard would it be for that employee to come out from behind the counter, greet you and ask, “What can I help you find today?”
Have you ever asked for something special at a restaurant? Maybe you have a food allergy. Maybe you’re trying to eat healthy and would rather have a vegetable instead of a starch. I remember going into a restaurant and was disappointed to read the large print in the middle of the menu that stated: No substitutions. The description of the entree that I wanted to order indicated what it came with. I don’t like green beans, but rather than test the theory of their substitution “rule,” I simply requested that there be no green beans. The server told me that the chef wouldn’t do that, as that was considered a change or substitution. I calmly disagreed and stated that I wasn’t asking for a substitution, but just wanted something left off the plate. The server told me that the chef was very busy in the kitchen and wouldn’t be able to acknowledge the special request. I acquiesced and just didn’t eat the green beans. I thought, how hard would it have been for the server to take care of it, even if the chef wouldn’t? How much “extra effort?” I don’t think very much.
The point is this. Sometimes when there is a big problem or complaint, it’s easy to spot and usually obvious that something needs to be done to fix it. But, the little things can nip away at the customer’s experience. They may be too small or insignificant to notice by themselves, but collectively they add up to the customer having a negative experience.
And these little things are simple to the customer walking away with a sour taste.
Here’s the lesson: Don’t take the easy way out. Find ways to say yes instead of no. Give a little more effort. Sometimes just a tiny bit more. Don’t view a special request as a nuisance. Instead, look at is as an opportunity to show how good you are. Capitalize on opportunities to create a great service experience for your customer.
I don’t know who said it first, but I heard it from Zig Ziglar. He used to say, “There’s no traffic jam on the extra mile.” And, when it comes to customer service, that extra mile, while not always super easy, isn’t always difficult either. It is sometimes something very small or simple, and most likely, if you have a customer service mindset, is a pleasure to do for your customer.
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Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, professional speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact (314)692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs go to http://www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
(Copyright ©MMXIII, Shep Hyken)