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A Lesson of Real Customer Service

In customer service, it’s the little things that matter most. A little eye contact here or a head nod there may seem insignificant, and largely are, but to a customer needing acknowledgment, these things are everything. There is nothing worse than needing help in a store and getting ignored by the very people who are supposed to be there to help.

The other day I went to the motorcycle shop to set an appointment to bring my bike in. When I walked into the service department there was no one at the counter to help me. I looked around for a bell or something that would allow me to notify someone that they had a customer waiting. Nothing. It wasn’t long until there were two other customers now waiting for some service along with me and still there was no one around.

After about three minutes of waiting a service department employee finally came walking in. He obviously was in the middle of something because he didn’t even look at any of us lowly customers. And then he immediately left again. Finally he came back to helped us out, but was a little acknowledgment too much to ask? How hard would it have been for him to look at us and tell us that he’d be right with us. But instead we got ignored.

But that’s not what this post is about. I’m going to tell you a story of good customer service, which I read from John Maxwell’s book Becoming a Person of Influence.

A candy store sold exotic chocolates only by the pound. In the store was one particular salesclerk who always had customers lined up waiting while the other salesclerks stood around with nothing to do. The owner of the store noticed how the customers flocked to her and finally asked for her secret.

“It’s easy,” she said. “The other girls scoop up more than a pound of candy and then start taking away. I always scoop up less than a pound and then add to it. The customers feel that I’m looking out for them and getting them their money’s worth.”

Customers like to feel taken care of. They want to believe that the employees are looking after them and truly want to give them what they want and need. People can find a product or service anywhere. But what they can’t find everywhere is good customer service. A little bit can go a long way to not only improving customer satisfaction, but getting additional referral customers.

Un-shockingly, I canceled my appointment with that motorcycle shop and took my bike to another that made me feel like I was a preferred client, not just a nuisance to be dealt with. My bike gets taken care of either way, but somebody else is getting my money to do it.

Be that someone else in your business. Analyze your customer service routines top to bottom. I’m sure you’ll find some areas that need to be fixed that can improve customer relations significantly. At worst, you’ll have happy customers. At best you’ll have a lot more customers who are also very happy!


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Stoney G deGeyter

Stoney deGeyter is the author of The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!. He is the founder and CEO of Pole Position Marketing, a web presence optimization firm who's pit crew has been velocitizing websites since 1998. In his free time Stoney gets involved in community services and ministries with his bride enjoy and his children. Read Stoney's full bio.

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One Response to A Lesson of Real Customer Service

  1. Good for you for taking your business elsewhere. Today, so many companies have bad customer service. My company made us read, ‘Raving Fans’ and ‘Fish’ and they are a must read for anybody in business, healthcare, education, etc. Enjoyed the article, thanks!