How a bottle of Geritol, delivering a package in the snow, and walking a dog, resulted in customers for life!
Wednesday, August 26th, 2009
Below are three true stories that illustrate the memorable customer service behavior: deliver service heroics. In order for us to have a common understanding of what it means to deliver service heroics, consider this definition: Going beyond the job duties that are expected of the employee.
1.) Earlier this year, I worked with a client who shared a story about how one of his front desk agents, Shannon, had established a genuine rapport with a repeat guest over many months. The pair laughed together about many things, including the guest’s own self-deprecating comments about his old age. For instance, on occasion he would jokingly refer to his need for Geritol. Unbeknownst to him, Shannon recalled their conversation and had a small bottle of Geritol waiting for him in his guest room when he returned and checked back into the hotel. Not only did Shannon’s gesture put a big smile on the guest’s face, it also reinforced the value she placed on their relationship.
Here’s an excerpt from a letter sent by the guest to the general manager of the hotel: “I recognize great customer service skills and your Shannon is a gem… She has made my stays at your hotel very memorable and I guarantee that, because of her, whenever I return to visit our branch in your wonderful city, I will stay at your hotel. I will also recommend your hotel to my associates, comrades, and even competitors.”
2.) A few years ago, my wife and I made plans to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. I’d made arrangements for my wife’s anniversary ring to be delivered to the hotel in time for our arrival. As it happened, there was a snow storm that day in Denver and we ended up canceling our plans to stay at the hotel.
I contacted the Tiffany & Co. store in Denver with my dilemma and my salesperson, Christine, assured me that she would take care of it. What happened next was legendary. The store arranged for one of its security guards to drive two hours south of the store to Colorado Springs where he located the UPS truck that carried the ring, provided the paperwork necessary to claim the package, and then drove it another hour and a half to our house.
He arrived at 9:00 pm and wouldn’t even accept a gratuity for his extra effort. Of course, I wrote Tiffany’s president about the service heroics and committed to “never purchase a significant piece of jewelry from a jeweler other than Tiffany & Co.” And I meant it.
3.) I recently saw a television commercial for Angie’s list, a company that pre-screens service companies for quality and reliability. In it, a customer phoned her plumber who was working on a repair at her house. She notified him that she was running late and was concerned about her little dog, Molly. Joe, the plumber, then did something unexpected. In the customer’s words: “Joe patiently paraded her up and down the street, sacrificing his time and dignity (he was a large man and Molly was an itty-bitty terrier) until her business was done. That’s why he’s the only plumber I’ll ever use.”
You see, when a hotel desk clerk surprises you with a bottle of Geritol, when a jewelry store security guard delivers a package to your front door in the snow, and when a plumber takes your dog for a walk, they are going beyond the job duties that are expected of them. They are delivering the unexpected—the memorable.
And they are reinforcing the personal importance of their customers. That is, the value these customers bring to the business through personal spending, loyalty, referrals, etc. In every one of the above examples, the customer cemented the relationship with a commitment to repurchase.
So, whenever you have an opportunity to spend a little more time with a customer or, in some other way, perform beyond the limitations of your job description, do it. It will be refreshing for you and memorable for your customers!