How Far Will You Go To Wow A Customer?   Leave a comment

By Mary Sandro

This past weekend, I was at a steakhouse. Two couples were sitting at the table next to mine. As is customary at most steakhouses, the waiter asked these customers to cut into their steaks when they arrived to make sure the steaks were cooked to their preference. One gentleman cut into his steak and immediately said, “Here it goes again. They always overcook my steak.”

Immediately the waiter offered to bring him a new steak. The customer refused, but continued to complain. The customer’s complaining escalated until eventually, he ended up with a card for a complimentary meal, plus the manager invited the customer for a private tour of the kitchen. The customer definitely wasn’t expecting that.

This squeaky wheel is a great example of the struggles with customer service.
What happens when the unexpected happens? Customers have an “unusual” request or they simply don’t know the rules of the system? The unexpected provides the opportunity

I arrived late at a hotel dressed for the cold weather in brown boots and heavy trousers. When I got to my room I unpacked only to discover that I had left my black heels at home, which I needed to wear for an early morning presentation.

I went to the concierge for help. It was after 10 pm. Nothing was open. I pressed the concierge, “There’s nothing that can be done?” Silence. The concierge contemplated further then asked, “What size are you?” I blurted out my shoe size. The concierge stepped out from behind the desk, pointed to the black heels on her feet and asked, “Will these work?” She gave me the shoes right off of her feet!

I have observed that companies and professionals practicing creative customer service successfully have two things in common.

The first commonality is that they care. Management cares. Employees care. Everyone cares a great deal about people. They like to help people solve problems. The concierge at the hotel cared about my shoe predicament and personally decided to go above and beyond. How much does your company care? How much do you care?

The second commonality is that employees have authority. Even when people care, if their hands are tied, they can’t help. In addition, employees who aren’t especially “caring” might be motivated to be creative for customers simply because it feels good to exercise their authority. Do you have enough authority to be creative?
Doing a good job isn’t good enough to separate from the pack. The prize will go to the one creating new frontiers. How far will you go to Wow a customer?

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