Friday, November 28, 2008

Putting Great Customer Service First

In a recent article in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Joe Guy Collier writes about the changes that AFC Enterprises new CEO, Cheryl Bachelder is making to Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. Bachelder said "We would like for our service, our guest experience to be as sharp as our food."

This kind of forward thinking is exactly what we all need to focus on in these tough economic times. Instead of letting the economic downturn get her down she said "We've had to be more focused, but I actually think that's been a blessing. We're going to get the fundamentals of our business moving the right way."

Popeye's has a system for immediate customer feedback that tracks hospitality as one of ten attributes. This feedback provides the managers the information they need to continuously improve.

Are you focusing on improving your customer's experience, or are you just slashing prices in hopes of winning your share of your customer's hearts and pocketbooks?

Focus on providing your customers what they want and need and you can win them over.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Great Customer Service Lesson from McClures's Pickles

Yesterday I went to the Royal Oak Farmers Market. I was happy to see that the wonderful folks from McClure's Pickles were there again. A few weeks ago I tasted their fabulous pickles and bought a jar. My husband and I were overloaded with goodies and the bag that dropped right by our car was the one that contained those pickles. The jar was smashed into smithereens and we wrapped it in plastic to get it to the garbage at home. The car had the wonderful aroma of pickles but we didn't get to eat any.

So as I walked up to their booth, two weeks later, I told them about my accident. "Why didn't you come back in we would have given you another one for free?" But instead of just saying I should have come back, she handed me a new jar and said "Here take this one please." I didn't accept her very generous offer, I happily paid for it.

I thought to myself, "You just made me a raving fan customer."

But here is the lesson to all of us. Being generous is the key to exceptional customer service. She could have easily said "Oh, you dropped the last one, sorry to hear that." and I would have been fine. I would have still bought another jar and gone on my way. But, because of her kindness I feel a huge sense of loyalty. They wanted to take care of me now I want to take care of them.

It is sometimes the smallest acts of kindness that can turn someone into a lifelong customer. What can you do in these difficult times to go the extra mile and do something to help your customers and win their loyalty?