One of the first things I learned in the world of work was the importance of customer service. I’ve always worked in industries where service defined who we were as a company. For example, there are lots of great hotels out there. But it’s the service that makes a hotel stand out from the rest.
During my hotel years, we embraced the concept that a key part of delivering good customer was to use a guests’ name. It was called the ‘rule of three’ – use the guest’s name three times in the conversation. Employees would discreetly check luggage tags or always remember to look at a guest’s name on a credit card. To this day, I always hone in on a person’s name tag and I think it truly surprises them when I say their name (and they don’t know mine!)
I was reminded of this the other day when I had a sales person leave a message on my voicemail. They were congratulating me on an award I had won and trying to sell me one of those display plaques for the article. Then they said my name – Cory. Okay, I admit I have an unusual name. I’ve been called Sheryl, Sharon, Shirley, Shar-Lynn and a whole bunch of other things. But c’mon, Cory?…not even close.
Companies need to realize that service is what defines the customer experience. We all know it’s easier (and more cost effective) to keep the customers we have rather than get new ones. So using the spaghetti theory (i.e. throwing pasta against the wall to see what sticks) isn’t a marketing strategy. Businesses have to hone in on those services their customers really want and make sure their employees provide them.
Organizations are going to heavily compete during this period of economic recovery. Having low prices isn’t going to be the sure-fire way to success. Consumers will gravitate toward businesses that give them good service. It’s time for management to ask themselves, “how do we treat our customers?”
A better question might be “would I spend my money here and why?” And, maybe more importantly, “why not?” Cheers!