Awesome Customer Service . . . an everyday story.

thCAQZTYVCAs a customer, the experiences that you have when dealing with companies in everyday life, leaves a lasting impression. Customer service, for good or for bad, has an effect on the perception one has of the organization.

For most companies today, the phrase, “excellent customer service” is present in some form or another, on most customer facing materials. It is often included as part of internal “core competencies” and performance measurements.  But all too often, in today’s fast paced, instance on, internet of things world, true customer service (which creates customer loyalty) has for some, become nothing more than “lip service”.

Seriously, when you think about it for a moment, what customer service experience comes to mind first?

A pleasant encounter with your favorite local barista, or that nightmare experience that you had with that company (or individual) that pissed you off. You know what I’m talking about, the one where you end up sharing the nightmare experience with 10 to 20 of your closet friends.  For that matter, anyone who would dare brooch the subject.

Today, I wanted to share a story with you about exceptional customer service and a little thing called loyalty. It’s not a case study created by some high powered marketing department, attempting to provide propaganda so the company can sell more stuff.  It’s just a simple observation from an ordinary average guy as he is going through everyday life. (aka the “Zim-Master” )

For anyone that knows me, you know what a fanatic I am about customer service. Whether it’s the level of service I provide to my clients, or the customer experience I have as the consumer, excellence is the expectation.  In my opinion, no matter what the situation, there is no reason for a customer to have a negative experience.

Several years ago I started going to my local Big O’ Tires for new treads. At the time I really didn’t know that they were more than just a tire shop. As I’m getting my ride some new shoes, I noticed they also did oil changes so I figured, why not kill two birds with one stone. Long story short, they kind of became my “defacto’ standard” for all things automotive. The location is convenient, they do everything from oil changes, to tune ups, to major engine repairs, and they do good work. The customer experience, while nothing spectacular, was always mostly positive.

Then a few months ago, came the ownership change. I walk in one day and I’m greeted by a whole new cast of characters. New folks at the front desk and you guessed it, a new manager.  I’m thinking to myself, great now I have to find a new place to have my cars repaired.

Then I meet Jason.  He introduces himself as the new manager and explains the ownership change, and he seems extremely sincere in his appreciation of my business. (With five drivers and four cars, it’s not a good month without a visit to Big O’ for one thing or another) I wonder if his sincerity and intentions are genuine but I guess time will tell.

Today after mowing the yard, I was sitting on the step in my garage and I notice that the skid plate is dangling precariously from the undercarriage of Ms. June’s car. (aka, Mrs. Zimmerman) Perfect . . .   I’m leaving town tomorrow morning for a week of client meetings, I don’t have time for this. I guess I could leave it up to Ms. June to deal with but . . . I don’t think so, the Zim-Master don’t roll that way.

Over the last few weeks I’ve had to visit Big O’ Tires on multiple occasions for a variety of issues on our cars. The level of customer service from the new team so far has been outstanding, but given my predicament, today was going to be a real test. For whatever reason, Saturday’s always seem to be extremely busy and I know they might not be able to work me in. I’m hoping that Zen is in my favor today as I give my main man Jason a call (yep, they are on speed dial) to see if there is any way he could squeeze me in.  I explain my dilemma and he tells me to come on by and he would see what he could do.

As I get out of the car, Jason greets me with a handshake and a big smile as he asks for the key. He tells me it will be a few minutes and ask me to have a seat. A very short time later out walks Jason as someone pulls the car around.  Problem solved.

As reach for my wallet to pay, I thank him for quickly fixing the problem and ask for the damages.  He smiles and simply says, “no charge other than a handshake.”  My protest falls on deaf ears, as he sincerely states, “we value your business”.

Wow, now that’s what I’m talking about. . . . Awesome Customer Service.

But it’s not the fact that the service was performed at no cost (all though free is good). I would have gladly paid to get the problem fixed. It’s about one individual going out of his way for his customer. It’s about doing whatever it takes to deliver exceptional customer service in a genuine and sincere manner.

Am I a happy camper, you bet! Do you think this creates customer loyalty? Absolutely!

How about you? Do you provide your customers the level of service they expect? Do you go above and beyond to deliver an exceptional customer experience?

Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments.

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