Friday, December 16, 2011

Service Starts with Hello

In many ways I am a bit conservative and set in my ways. And, I’m ok with that. I like routines and the certainty of knowing what to expect.

Because of this characteristic, I tend to shop at the same places even if it is not necessarily the most convenient. I’ll actually drive past several similar stores to go to the one I know even if they’re the same brand. Peculiar?

Recently, I had to get an oil change. I mean really had to get an oil change. I’d been putting it off because the place I usually go is clear across town now and Saturdays have been so packed with events. So, I’ve been circling this place at lunch checking it out the last couple of days. Yes, there is medicine for people like me. I choose not to take it.

Finally, yesterday I bit the bullet and actually pulled into the driveway. As soon as I did, a worker (Sorry, but what do you call someone who works at an oil change place?) walked to my car and greeted me. He actually welcomed me to the established and asked how he could serve me today.

Dumbfounded by his enthusiasm, I was speechless. I rarely get greeted so eagerly by hosts at restaurants or sales people let alone by a mechanic. He kept his side of the conversation by asking several key questions until he understood what kind of service I needed. Professionally and succinctly the service-minded worker explained the procedure and then guided me into the shop. His crew took over from there while he offered me coffee and magazines to occupy my time.

I didn’t need a magazine, I was lost in thought. Imagine if real estate was done this way? I mean a hearty welcome. Ok that’s common. But then a series of questions by the salesperson so she could understand the needs of the consumer and then a presentation. It’s not a unique idea nor even new.

Ken Blanchard focuses on customer service in Raving Fans. So do many other authors and business trainers and coaches. But, do we? Is $ally our $eller truly our main focus? Or is the consummation of the transaction our goal. My head was swimming!
While deep in these ideas, the worker drew me back to the room. As promised, my newly found service hero had delivered my car to me. He then reviewed the service his crew provided, and then (get this) genuinely thanked me for choosing his shop. Unbelievable. Thanks, Jim! I will be back you can guarantee it.

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