I’ve been focusing a lot on customer service these days, and the impact it has on buyer loyalty. While there’s most likely a marketing guru out there with piles of data on this subject, I prefer to share examples from my personal experience.
Recently, I’ve had a few encounters with excellent employees that have cemented my loyalty to their companies (barring a truly royal screw-up, of course). These may seem like small, inconsequential acts, but they go a long way in creating a positive experience for customers. Ultimately, they may even help differentiate your business.
Customer Experience #1:
I often go to the Jerry’s grocery store near my home early in the morning. Their coffee shop is a great place to get some work done, at least until the high schoolers arrive. There is a woman at the check-out that I see often, and we got talking about retirement. In our discussion, we agreed that we don’t know if we ever want to retire in the traditional sense. Then, she came out from behind the cash register, put an arm around me and said, “If I retired, I wouldn’t get to see people like you.” Holy cow! It put a smile on my face all day.
Customer Experience #2:
I was at the gas station the other day, and as usual I had Lily, my white Labrador, with me. While I was filling up the tank, a UPS driver on his lunch break came up to me and said, “Is this Lily?” and asked if she was the dog he often sees on my road. When I confirmed, he gave her three small dog treats, and mentioned he’d be stopping by later with a package. Then, he gave Lily a big hug and told her to stop being a big baby and barking at him. I live in the middle of suburbia, and yet he managed to have a personal connection with us. Given the choice, I will always ship with UPS.
Customer Experience #3:
I’ve been doing work recently with a client in North Carolina in the Raleigh/Durham area. At the highway exit to the plant there is a Love’s truck stop, and I often stop in to get a soda. When I walk in the door, I’m greeted with a loud and hearty, “Welcome to Loves,” and when I leave, the clerk usually says “You have a nice day, hon.” It isn’t said with the superficial, mechanical, programmed monotony that you hear too often. It feels genuine. There is a smile on their face, and they seem happy, which brightens my day.
We hear a steady drumbeat of negativity on the news and in social media. You might think that we’ve all lost our civility. I think it’s overblown. Most people are good at their core and there are the special few who are truly talented at bringing joy to others. Today, we are often asked to process requests as quickly and efficiently as possible. It’s worth remembering that there is still a lot of value in taking the time to treat people kindly and approach your customers with a positive attitude.