If you want great customer service…
…add something extra after the scales have gone down.
I don’t know about you, but I’m always suspicious when companies brag about their customer service.
You know the ones I mean. The ones that talk about ‘going the extra mile’, ‘putting you first’ or being ‘at your service’.
Frankly, I prefer customers to be the judge of those things. We’re much less biased.
I was reminded of this the other day when I was reading Richmal Crompton’s Just William stories. As you’ll know, her famous scapegrace, William Brown, is an 11 year old with the most exacting standards when it comes to customer service.
In the very first story about him, the author remarks:
…he knew every sweet shop within a two miles radius of his home whose proprietor added an extra sweet after the scale had descended, and he patronised these shops exclusively. With solemn face and eager eye, he always watched the process of weighing, and “stingy” shops were known and banned by him.
And who wouldn’t do the same? If one shop gives you a little bit extra, you won’t visit the stingy shop that doesn’t.
Adding something after the scale goes down is something any business can learn from. It works even better when that extra something is completely unexpected.
It happened to me the other day. I recently moved house, and as part of the process I had to get my phone line and broadband transferred. It was a hassle, but it needed to be done.
Then, two weeks later, my broadband provider sent me a special voucher. It was a code to download a free film online. The message boiled down to ‘we know moving is hard work, so put your feet up and enjoy a film on us.’
Something simple. Something inexpensive. But something added after the scales went down.
I thought it was great.
And do you know what? You can even use the same technique to solve complaints.
My cousin discovered this when she bought a small bag of Haribo sweets. She is a huge fan of the fried-egg shaped sweets, so she was disappointed that there wasn’t a single one in the packet she had bought.
So, on a whim, she wrote a tongue-in-cheek letter complaining that she hadn’t been given any fried egg sweets.
By return post, Haribo sent my cousin a vast box of confectionery – easily 20 times the amount she had bought. There was a light-hearted letter inside, apologising, explaining how it may have happened and telling her that she must have received ‘a bad mix’.
Naturally, my cousin thought this was wonderful and showed the letter to everyone she knew. And for adding that bit extra they didn’t need to add, Haribo secured a customer for life and a lot of really great PR.
So, if you really want to offer great customer service, don’t tell people about that extra mile you’ll go for them. Show them – add something after the scales have gone down.
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