One of the books I’m working on this summer is a customer service book with Kathy Cuff and Vicki Halsey tentatively titled I Care—Do You?: The Essentials of Delivering Legendary Service. A recent experience I had at my vacation home in upstate New York beautifully illustrates what we are trying to capture with this new book.
I was driving the car we use up here when the light came on and said I needed an oil change and the air pressure in the tire was down. So I took it over to a local service station about fifteen minutes from our cottage for an oil change and to have the tire checked. Bob, who owns the place, is a fabulous guy.
While my car is being looked at I asked, “How’s business going?” and Bob replied, “Amazingly well—but some of the other folks I talk to, it’s not so good.” And I said, “The reason, Bob, is because you are such a fabulous guy with your customers. You really care and so do your people.”
He said, “We really try. Our main goal is to do what the customers need and take care of them.” Then his mechanic came to me and said, “I just checked the car. The alert system didn’t take into consideration that the car was sitting around all winter. You don’t really need an oil change for another 4000 miles. I checked the oil and it looks fine, but you do need a New York State inspection, so I’ll just give you that.” I was out of there in about twenty minutes.
I went over to Bob as I was leaving and said, “Here’s a perfect example of what I was telling you. You could have gone ahead and changed the oil—it would have been a lot better financially for you—but your guy said, “No, I don’t really need it.”
Bob said, “We find that when we take care of the customers it might cost us money in the short run, but it comes back in the long run.”
That’s another great example of how a small business – or any business – thrives when its people have an “I care—do you?” mindset around customers.
So make sure you take care of your customers. And remember, we don’t have just external customers; we have internal customers, too. Who are the people that use your services? How can you be most helpful to them?