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How is Your Customer Service?

    Customer Service

    I am crazy about customer service. My basic philosophy is “be nice to people.” I feel like that’s setting the bar pretty low and yet some can’t meet that expectation. In my book, Marketing Basics for Your Small Business I have an entire chapter on this. Why? Because a rude employee can turn off a potential customer with a 30-second interaction. A rude employee can cost you a 1-star review that you can’t remove. News of bad service can spread like wildfire through social media. It’s not worth the risk. And besides, unless you live in a tiny town, chances are that your customers have a lot of options. Whether you’re a realtor, pizza parlor or plumber, one bad interaction can instantly send these potential customers right into the arms of your competitor. 

    But instead of harping on bad service (because Lord knows we’ve all had it) I want to share an awesome series of good customer service experiences. These companies handled their interactions with class and it’s why I will continue to do business with or recommend them. Leaving our customers feeling like this is what we should all strive for.

     One lovely Saturday morning our yard maintenance crew was weed-eating the front yard when the weed eater threw a rock into our window next to the front door. As luck would have it I was standing on the other side of the door when this happened so I immediately opened the door to tell them what happened. The glass had shattered into 1000 pieces, though still intact. His boss immediately came to the door and said they’d pay to fix it. It was a bit of a process, getting quotes, etc., but in the end, the landscaper always kept good communication and promptly brought us a check after the repair.  What was great about this? Acceptance of fault, willingness to make it right, prompt communication. His humbleness was refreshing.

    The window company that came to give us a quote is the same who replaced some windows in our home last year. I knew they did not want this job. It was only one window and our old windows are extra trouble to retrofit.  But the owner came out to give us a quote anyway. He was very kind and said that he thought we could just replace the glass instead of the whole window and frame. He gave me his own quote (super high) but gave me some glass shop recommendations to check out instead. I didn’t even know that was an option!  What was great about this? He honored a past customer even when he didn’t want the job. This means an excellent recommendation from me instead of the opposite. He offered alternate solutions that didn’t involve him making any money. While I know he really didn’t want the job, he ultimately saved me (my landscaper) a ton of money. The only rub: his office staff has terrible phone manners. He, however, is a gem. 

    Lastly, we got quotes to replace just the glass and that ended up being half the cost of the window. The glass company gave a quote over the phone which was unusual but welcomed. I loved that we didn’t have to waste an appointment just to say no. Their number was good so they came out for a true measure and final quote (it was the same as over the phone). The office staff and installer’s personalities left something to be desired (high expectations over here) but their work was phenomenal. The installer worked quickly and with little mess. I thought I was going to have to repaint my window trim from the work that changing the class entailed and instead, you can’t even tell he was there. When you pick the lowest bidder, sometimes you get what you pay for. Not this time.  What was great about this? Upfront pricing felt super honest and transparent, the family-owned company clearly worked like they had skin in the game, and excellent craftsmanship definitely earned a 5-star review. 

    Not every customer interaction will not be perfect. You will deal with some people who are just perpetually grumpy. But if you really stress that customer service is the first line of defense for unhappy customers and the best way to secure a client/customer, there’s no doubt that you will see positive results. For more about customer service, check out my book! Marketing Basics for Your Small Business: