By: Stephen Novak
I was heading home after a late meeting and didn’t feel like cooking. On my way was an Italian restaurant that I’d heard had great food – being a sucker for Italian, I thought I’d give it a try. When I entered the building I walked to the front counter. I approached the employee behind the register who was seated on a bar stool leaning back against the wall while staring off into space. I explained that this was my first visit, I had heard good things, and would like to order some dinner to-go. The employee leaned forward…popped out his ear buds…and said, “Hugh”. I took a step back and then repeated what I had just said. He had a puzzled look on his face as he said, “You can’t order to-go food up here.”
Of course I asked, “Well, where can I order food to-go?” He pointed to an area towards the back of the restaurant…put his ear buds back in…and leaned back. I walked to the area that he designated and waited…and waited. Two servers walked by at least twice before I flagged one of them down. I immediately recognized the why-are-you-bothering-me look on her face. I’d go on, but the rest of my visit wasn’t any better. This experience enlightened me to the fact that although good customer service may be hard to define, poor customer service stands out like fingernails scraping along a chalkboard. Let me explain:
You could pull a hundred different people off the street and ask them the question, “What is good customer service?” And you would probably get a hundred different responses. What’s OK for one person may not be good for another, but there are some fundamentals that must be present in any customer interaction.
Some typical “good customer service” elements that we all look for are:
- We want to feel welcomed when we enter a business.
- We want to be treated with respect.
- We want to be listened to.
- We want to get what we were promised and treated fairly.
- We want to be thanked for our business.
Any business that is serious about providing good customer service must have these elements at the core of their customer service process. Keep in mind that these elements are just a starting point. If your goal is to provide excellent customer service, then you must notch up the intensity of the above elements while monitoring their effectiveness. Tweak when necessary and eliminate any obstacle that prevents your customers from having such a positive experience that they honor you with their business time and time again.
Copyright © Stephen Novak 2011 Rising Moon Publications. All rights reserved.