Great Customer Service is about Actions and Words

In business you get what you want by giving other people what they want. ALICE MACDOUGALL

Earlier this year, I was a on a business trip to Chicago when low and behold, the airline lost my luggage.  Through the process of getting it back I found it quite funny that, as the customer, I had to do all the leg work—call this number, and call this department, fly back to Denver and backtrack to the last time I saw it (of course I am making the last one up, but that is actually how I felt!).  Later that night, still with no luggage, I decided to go to one of my favorite restaurants for dinner, The Capital Grille.  As I was sitting at the bar I started speaking to another seasoned business traveler, exchanging airline tales of woe. The entire time the bartender was listening in and said to me, “So sorry to hear about your troubles.”  About 30 minutes passed when the restaurant manager approached me and handed me a card that simply said:

“Welcome to Chicago and please do not let one bad experience ruin your trip.”  Along with the card was a $50 gift card to The Capital Grille.

The airline which will remain nameless, still failed to call me about my lost luggage and when I called again and waited on hold for 22 minutes, they still could not locate it.  I can deal with my luggage being lost; it is bound to happen from time to time. What really bothered me was how as a frequent traveler, loyal to that airline, I was made to do all my own work for somebody else’s mistake!

On another recent business trip I found myself in Orlando, again having dinner at The Capital Grille, (what can I say the hamburger served at their bar is delicious!)  When my burger came I asked the bartender for some plain yellow mustard, and he kindly said, “Sir, I must apologize all we have is Dijon mustard available, but let me see what I can do.”  Five minutes or so went by when the bartender returned with a bottle of good old yellow mustard.  When I inquired about where it came from, the bartender said to me, “We ran down the block to another restaurant.”  WOW!!! Enough said.

I am constantly singing the praises in this day and age about companies such as The Capital Grille, Nordstrom’s and Chick-Fil-A. The employees at these companies understand that it is okay to go out of the way to make a customer feel appreciated. They work hard to make sure any problem the customer may encounter is dealt with using a certain flare that screams, “We care!”  It is very unfortunate to think that exceptional service has become the rarity in today’s society. Maybe this is part of the reason for our decline in spending.

If we don’t take care of our customers, someone else will.

I no longer use the airline that I had problems with, not because of mistakes but how the mistakes were handled.  Now I know that losing my business and by writing a blog, the airline will really not be affected, but I do hope that I can spread the word that there are great companies out there that do not want to lose your business!  We should support those, and those of us in business should strive to enhance every customer experience at every opportunity.

 Facts about customer experiences and referrals

  1. 96% of unhappy customers don’t complain, however 91% of those will simply leave and never come back – 1st Financial Training services
  2. A dissatisfied customer will tell between 9-15 people about their experience. Around 13% of dissatisfied customers tell more than 20 people. – White House Office of Consumer Affairs
  3. Happy customers who get their issue resolved tell about 4-6 people about their experience. – White House Office of Consumer Affairs
  4. Happy customers who get their issue resolved tell about 4-6 people about their experience. – White House Office of Consumer Affairs
  5. 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated – McKinsey
  6. 55% of customers would pay extra to guarantee a better service – Defaqto research
  7. Price is not the main reason for customer churn, it is actually due to the  overall poor quality of customer service – Accenture global customer satisfaction report 2008
  8. 94% of customers do not want to be transferred to another representative more than once – Mobius Poll 2002
  9. 80% of customers prefer to speak with a representative at the weekends – Mobius Poll 2002
  10. 84% of customers are frustrated when a representative does not have immediate access to account information – Mobius Poll 2002
  11. Customers who rate you 5 on a scale from 1 to 5 are six times more likely to buy from you again, as opposed to if they “only” gave you a score of 4.8. – TeleFaction data research
  12. It takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience – “Understanding Customers” by Ruby Newell-Legner

David Pettit, Business Development Director at Red Book Solutions | 15 years Expertise in Performance Improvement, Local Store Marketing and Operations | Extensive Background in Restaurant and Bar Management | Current CFE Certification Candidate | Trainer and Management Champion Having Worked with many Fortune 500 Companies


8 responses to “Great Customer Service is about Actions and Words

  1. Great post, David. Your experience with The Capital Grille certainly demonstrates the “we care” attitude you describe. Clearly management has established a powerful service-centric corporate culture. I also really like how the founders of the Net Promoter system define it – “the business equivalent of the Golden Rule: treat others as you yourself would want to be treated.” Research proves such behaviors pay off handsomely, in the form of stronger retention, referrals, add on sales to existing clients and higher sales close rates.

  2. I really enjoyed all of the stats regarding customer service. Word-of-mouth is very powerful; and when you add social media to the realm of spreading good or bad experiences, the impact can become exhilarating or devastating to a company. Managers everywhere need to be authorized to solve consumer issues on-the-spot. Doing this helps please the customer quickly and gives them bragging rights about how wonderfully the problem was rectified. I would say the majority of customer problems can be resolved quickly without having to put them in pause-mode until the “authority” gives the go-ahead to resolve the issue. Customer Crisis Management strategies should be planned well, so when an occurrence arises, it can be addressed and expedited as soon as possible.

  3. I do believe that proving great customer service must implemented with passion. The customer service staff must be really alert and attentive in assisting customer because it is one way to retain the customer. Just be nice and smile all the time.

    • Thanks for sharing Cindy. We agree, passion is very important. You can tell when people aren’t excited or passionate. It can lead to a poor perception of those providing the service, even the company as a whole. Smiling and a nice demeanor goes a long way.

  4. Pingback: On the 8th Day of #Tipmas | Red Book Connect |

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