Is the quality of the customer service you receive better in the early morning, noon or later in the day? This question came to me as I stood in line at a local post office. It was Monday morning and the lines were fairly long. The local postal workers were handling the customers as quickly as possible. I felt good about the wait and the quality of service. That is until I heard the following interchange between a female postal worker and a customer who had just walked up for service. Do you have a bill smaller than a fifty? If you don’t you will probably have to come back later. It’s too early for me to give you change for this bill. If I do now, I won’t have any for later. Wait a minute, did I hear that correctly. This poor lady should have come in later if she expected to get the best customer service. Well, maybe that’s not what I heard. Rather the postal worker was expressing her dilemma if she gave this woman the money now. Fortunately she had enough change and handed the confused woman her thirty plus dollars of change.
Customer Service Modeled
What happened next was very surprising and true example of modeling customer service. The next client in line walked up to the counter. After making his request he counted out ten twenty dollar bills to make sure the clerk had the correct change. She kindly thanked him and went on to say that he had made her day. So I thought who is the customer here. She smiled broadly as if she had served this gentleman well. Have you ever been waited on by someone who obviously didn’t want to be bothered? Maybe you thought they are being nice because it’s too early in the morning. Or maybe it’s too late. Frankly the average customer does not care whether they are the first customer or last. They have a reasonable expectation that their needs will be met in a friendly and courteous manner.
As a business owner I do everything I can to anticipate and meet my customers expectations. I may not always succeed but I am certainly trying to reach this goal with every interaction.
According to Wikipedia, customer service is the provision of service to customers before, during and after a purchase. The perception of success of such interactions is dependent on employees “who can adjust themselves to the personality of the guest” Ultimately how the customer is served will impact the organization’s ability to generate income and revenue.
So what’s the big lesson here? Good customer service can make a business and poor customer service can be very detrimental. Certainly one good experience can positively impact a customer’s perception. Likewise, it should be noted that one negative experience can impact the customer’s perception and others for years to come. An American Proverb reminds us:
To keep a customer demands as much skill as to win one.
Make sure you are treating your customers with the highest caliber of service regardless of the time of day.