Unlike most commuters, I enjoy my drive to the office each day. It’s no surprise since rather than being stuck in traffic watching motorcyclists zip by my mirror, I get to drive by vineyards, between hills, and some days under hot air balloons. One of the benefits of life in the Napa Valley is the ever-changing scenery.
Earlier this week, I was traveling the back roads to work when I saw the clouds tucking into the hills. I tried stopping in the middle of the road to get a picture but wouldn’t you know, just then someone decided to join me on my usually private drive. But I was determined to get this shot. Just around the next bend I found a road leading into a vineyard. I pulled off and made my way down the side of a ditch to find an opening between the trees. It was sprinkling, so I moved quickly, since digital cameras seem to have a thing against water. After a few shots, I was satisfied with the image so I jumped back into my SUV and was off.
So this was my story of how I captured the picture above, but here’s the thing. The result of my effort was satisfaction. I was only satisfied with this image. And satisfied is just not good enough when it comes to my photos.
So often I hear businesses sharing their latest survey results which show that their customers are satisfied.
Big deal! Being satisfied is just a polite way of saying “I haven’t found anything better yet”. The bar for customer service is so low that we have accepted the rude clerk talking with a co-worker about her plans, – it’s just the way it is. Well I say enough! It’s time business owners pay attention and focus on real customer service.
Many are struggling to succeed in this recession – it’s a perfect opportunity for each retailer and service provider to go out of their way to show their appreciation. This means training their employees in the art of putting the customer first. I don’t mean that corporate requirement that they greet everyone in the store. I mean something more. Caring about people. This means some employees may have to switch seats on the bus or get off. Not everyone’s behavioral style is conducive to dealing with people all day long. Believe me, I have met plenty of front line people who would be happier stocking shelves than interacting with customers. That’s okay, but let’s recognize where they belong and make the changes necessary to improve service for all.
Customer service is so bad in most places that even modest improvements will be noticed. But just think, if you could change the culture in your business so that your customers go from being just “satisfied” to being raving fans, how much loyalty you would create. Not to mention the new customers you would gain. This is the time to invest in your employees.
Until next time…satisfied customers will come and go but raving fans are yours forever.