The Secret to Creating Raving Fans: Good Customer Service Isn’t Enough 1

I’m old school. I came up in a time when the customer was always right (even when they weren’t!).  In my first job at Dunkin Donuts, I learned quickly what that meant. I was 14, given the job because my mother, who managed another store by the same owner decided I needed something to “keep me out of trouble”… and I had an attitude. I was watched, scrutinized, and secret shopCustomer service and raving fans for small businessped and told again and again to  watch my “snotty” attitude. Dunkin Donuts was huge on customer service – and so were the jobs I held for the next 10 years; sandwich maker, waitress, customer service rep – they all knocked the snotty right out of me and taught me how to politely smile and say yes ma’am, despite how rudely the customer treated me. Yes, I learned great customer service – and even earned awards for it later in my career.

Times have changed. I certainly don’t think the customer is always right, (See, “When to tell a Client to Take a Hike”) . But I also think that great customer service is becoming a lost art. When I walk into Starbucks and four twenty-somethings are behind the counter doing anything but waiting on me, I know times have changed. My Dunkin Donuts manager would have tapped me on the shoulder, pointed to the line at the counter and patronizingly snarled, “ you have customers” . Then, once they were served, pulled me aside to give me another  “the customer always comes first” lecture.

As business owners, we constantly read and hear how we should be “wowing” customers:  turning them into raving fans, creating armies of loyal followers, and creating “buzz”. But how do we do that? I haven’t  really seen anyone explain how to go from “ok” customer service to “out of the park” customer service. So I wanted to share with you four examples of out-of-the-park service to give you some ideas  of what it takes to wow customers and create raving fans.

The situation: I had a few dents and scrapes on my new-ish car that I wanted to get fixed. So, I went to some body shops for estimates.

OK customer service: – They could have looked at the damage and provided me a fair estimate.

What R&D Bodyworx did: While they were looking at my body damage they noticed my tires were in pretty bad shape. They actually told me they wouldn’t give me an estimate until I got new tires – they were “dangerous” they said.  The following week I got a flat when one of my bald tires gave out and I had to replace all my tires.  Guess who’s going to get all my body work for life!

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The situation: I needed some information that had something to do with technology and/or vaguely related to my website.  So I sent an email to my web builders at Safehouse Web asking them what they knew about the topic.

OK customer service: They could have told me where to go to get the info I needed and directed me to a few websites; which is really what I expected.

What SafeHouse Web did:  Instead, he did the research for me and sent me an email answering all of my questions. I know he did the research for me, because he included the links and said if I wanted to read up on it more, here were his sources…  Out of the park service!!!

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The situation: I needed a banner – yesterday –  and went to Front2Back Designs. I sent them all my artwork but my logo file was corrupted. They asked me to send a new file, I did, it was still corrupted.

OK customer service: They could have told me to go back to my designer and get another file – one they could use, which could have taken days.

What Front2BackDesigns did:  Realizing I was in a hurry for the banner and had no time to be going  back and forth with my designer, they proactively re-created my logo for me… getting my banner done on time and saving me lots of time and headaches! They “Wowed” me!!!

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The situation:  I was setting up an event in Eventbrite and was having trouble with formatting.  I emailed customer support and explained the problem.

OK customer service: Customer support could have come back and told me there was a problem in my html code that was creating the problem and told me how to adjust it to solve the formatting issue.

What Eventbrite did:  They emailed me back and said the problem was my html code, AND they already made the corrections AND even formatted my event for me!! So by the time they responded to my email (which was very quickly) my event page was perfectly laid out! They created a Raving Fan!!!

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The bottom line is, with prices rising like crazy and consumers having more choices than ever we are looking for those things that set businesses apart (see: “Price Doesn’t Matter”). – And good customer service is NOT something that can set you apart – good service is an expectation – WOWing customers ; giving people something to rant and rave  and tell their friends and neighbors about is what  creating an amazing customer experience is all about!


About the Author Carolyn Higgins is the President and founder of Fortune Marketing Company. You can follow her on Google+. Read more »

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