In a previous article I wrote about how small, seemingly insignificant comments & actions can make a difference toward creating a positive customer experience. In that case, it was just a few pleasant words from a new gas station attendant that started my day on an upbeat note.
Here’s another example…
Today I went to the eye doctor to pick up new contact lenses. I knew I was due for my yearly examination and hoped I could get a box or two without being tested. No such luck.
The procedure at this office was to not sell more contacts until a new examination is completed, and frankly, that’s perfectly reasonable. So we set an appointment for the first day that the doctor and I had available, it was 2 weeks away. Now what do I do about my lenses?
As I pleaded my case to the office manager about how “the only pair of lenses I have left are the ones I’m wearing now” and how I “really need a few pairs and can’t wait weeks for the next available appointment” she just smiled, nodded and said “I completely understand Mr. DiGioia, let’s see what we can do”.
She excused herself while she walked to a side counter and rummaged through her selection of contacts. A few moments later I saw her speaking with the doctor. Oh no, I bet I’m in trouble now…
Quickly coming back to the counter where I patiently waited, she said “the doctor said I can give you two sets of contacts while we wait for your appointment. Great! Thanks so much.
“I happen to be off on Wednesday”, two days away, “any possibility to squeeze me in then?” I said. Hey, you never know…it doesn’t hurt to ask.
The office manager, her name is Sally, said “Oh I’m sorry Mr. DiGioia but the office is very full that day and we will not be able to take you”. I said “thank you anyway for checking. I guess we will just keep my appointment in two weeks”.
As she was putting my contact lenses in the bag she said “let me look one last time and see if I can help”. She said “you know what, if you can come at 10 o’clock on Wednesday, I’m pretty sure I can sneak you into see the doctor then. Will that be okay?”
“Okay? That will be perfect, thank you!”
Now, whether or not the office intentionally leaves space between appointments so that they can take in another customer or she was practicing the tried-and-true customer service method of “under promise and over deliver”, who cares, it worked. This little act of checking again is one of the reasons why I continue to use this I doctor’s office because of the service the doctor and the staff provide.
Do you under promise and over deliver?
Do you find that small action that makes for a very happy customer or do you just do what is expected and go through the motions of service?
Think of how my positive feelings for this service provider were enforced because of her actions of “looking one last time”. Such a small action but with a big payoff.
Before I end this article I must say that by “under promise over deliver” I don’t mean that we should neither downplay our abilities or service initially in the hopes of providing more value or services at the end.
As Jeffrey Gitomer rightly states in his book; “Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless”, too many service providers believe that as long as the customer is satisfied they have done their job.
But what makes for a satisfied customer? Just doing for or giving to the customer based on their request? That’s no more than an interaction between two parties.
Find a way to make the experience more than just a transaction.
Provide real value, real effort or a “little something” not expected by your customer.
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It’s the little things that make a difference…that’s what creates a loyal customer.
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