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I recently received a delivery of a weightlifting system by a local fitness equipment company. I met the delivery truck in my driveway and gave the foreman a quick orientation about the best door to use, location of the weight room containing the old universal weight machine that required dismantling and removal, and where to find me should they have any questions. Before we separated, the foreman said he would let me know before assembly was complete, and 255 lbs. of weight plates had been added to the rack, so that I could tell them exactly where I wanted the machine to be positioned.

I thanked him and returned to my home office. About an hour into assembly, I heard a thud in the foyer outside my office. As I stepped into the entryway, I saw one of the guys balancing a piece of steel equipment that was about 6-feet long. I repeated that I prefer he use the side door because, as a double door, it’s much wider. There were also fewer steps, and it was closer to his truck.

An hour later, I was notified that they were finished. Puzzled because I had not been given the opportunity to confirm the machine’s placement, I accompanied the installers downstairs. Upon inspection, it seemed a little tight. The equipment was placed about 20 inches from the wall even though the manufacturer advises users to locate equipment 24-36 inches from the wall. Later, my son and I stripped 255 lbs. of weight plates and repositioned the machine 32 inches from the wall.

1.) When a large piece of equipment (over X-feet or X-pounds) is either brought into removed from a home, two installers must transport the piece. Not only is this safer for the workers, but this practice will also reduce damage to walls, floors, and thresholds, while conveying safety, care, and professionalism to customers—all of which contribute to a lasting positive impression.

2.) It would have been appreciated if the guys had been equipped with a vacuum cleaner to quickly vacuum the area beneath where the old equipment had been stationed for nearly 16 years. Or, at the very least, make that suggestion to the homeowner in cases where an old weight system is being removed. Customers will appreciate the chance to vacuum an area that is probably long overdue and freshen the space for the incoming equipment.

3.) As a part of the equipment orientation, I was advised to grease the sliding J-Hooks every couple of months with a specific product: the B’laster brand of aerosol spray lubricant. Although I would not expect it (recall that one of the hallmarks of exceptional customer service is that it is often unexpected), it would have been a pleasant surprise to have received a trial size of the lubricant.

There is no doubt in my mind that if this criterion was added to the training received by the delivery staff, customers’ satisfaction and loyalty behavior (e.g., purchase rates, willingness to pay price premiums, and intent to recommend) would increase. And because delivery and assembly workers are often tipped for their service, gratuities will likely also increase when customers hear the unexpected sound of a vacuum cleaner rather than a piece of metal banging against their entryway threshold.

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