I’m a bit of a customer service freak. Often to the detriment of my bottom line, the extra distance is travelled for clients and often for friends. It’s Jw DNA, ultimately wanting to help others succeed and improve. Who doesn’t appreciate a resourceful referral?
Since early days as an Account Executive in Toronto at Standard’s CKFM, (“The Sound of our Toronto”), my mantra was to be known for creativity, resourcefulness, and, customer service.
Recently whilst travelling (out of Muskoka), I called a popular little restaurant that does a nice job of serving pizza, wings, burgers and the like, to order take out. We did not have time to sit down, order, sit and eat. We wanted to order on the phone, pick up a couple of burgers on the fly, and SAVE TIME doing so.
The person on the other end of the phone was short with me saying: “It’s pizza and wing night here tonight, we can’t do burgers for take out.” Somewhat understandably, I was flabbergasted. In fact, for a moment I was literally speechless, which is a rarity for moi.
I finally said: “I’ll have to call you back”, because I did not know what else to say, that was pleasant. He replied: “You do that!”
Back in the 80’s, in addition to the Radio gig, my bride and I owned three New York Fries locations in the GTA . We were actually the first franchisee! Thanks Jay! We got to know a little about the restaurant business, customer service and a myriad of metrics, rules and regulations. The picture featured above is an hilarious shot of the incomparable Don Daynard hamming it up with Jeremy Brown at our original store in Sherway Gardens. Too funny!
So upon hearing this customer service ‘expert’ on the phone, it reminded me to point out to others (you), that you can never take for granted what your employees will say or do. Training may be as omnipotent as persistence. Do you know how your employees handle the phone? Regardless of the size of your operation, is your sales team trained to ask the right questions when qualifying a prospect? Are they trained to handle objections? Perhaps most importantly, are they trained to handle pricing issues?
Over a fun-filled career, I have had the pleasure to train many individuals and groups on these subjects, and what a difference it makes. Having prospect-tested a number of companies (as an interloping secret shopper) , you’d be surprised what I learn.
Folks, it will COST you, if you are not managing this component part of your business. Unnecessary costs, that might have been a sale, that goodness knows, might have had margin attached to it!
So what was the genesis of this topic today? A note was made, back on September 6th when Seth Godin blogged about customer service. I know, this type of activity, or the scenario above, never happens at your operation, but as ‘they’ say, bad news travels fast, and is repeated often.
Even as a singleton business operator striving for success, I do my darnedest to exceed customer expectations. Bottom line: Customers enjoy resourceful suppliers who consistently demonstrate passion, integrity, and effective customer service.