Wednesday, November 26, 2008

How is Your Customer Service?

In an economic time, when it is now more crucial than ever to set yourself apart from the competition, businesses often look at many different ways to get noticed. Often, leaders forget that one of the simplest ways to stand out is to have exemplary customer service. Great customer service is remembered for a long time and the story is told to many people over and over again. It may cost you a couple of dollars at the moment, but this small investment will more than pay for itself.

I remember many years ago my wife and I took my eldest son on his first trip to Disneyland. We lived in Northern California at the time, so it was just a short drive down to Anaheim. We decided to splurge and stay at the Disneyland Hotel.

In the middle of the night, on the second night of our stay, my son got sick and began running a very dangerously high temperature. We called the front desk to ask if they had a physician or nurse on staff to find out what our local options were to get him checked out. They did have someone on staff and as soon as they found out what the temperature was they went into action.

What happened next is a lesson for everyone in customer service. The nurse told us that within 15 minutes an EMT would knock on our door to take us to Anaheim Children's Hospital....that knock came in 5 minutes. The EMT took us to an express elevator where they had an ambulance waiting with a very Disney interior decor to help soothe any child. They then called ahead to the hospital to have a doctor waiting for us.

When we arrived at the emergency room, we went past the waiting area and proceeded directly to a room. When the doctor walked in we were greeted by name and then got down to business. We figured out what was going on and then we went to leave the hospital to grab a taxi back to the hotel. However, the EMT was there to greet us and drive us to an all night pharmacy and then back to the Disney properties. From the time we left our hotel room to our return was only 3 hours. The entire cost for everything...nothing. Disney considered it simple function of taking care of their guests.

When I went back to Disneyland for future visits, do you think I ever stayed at any of the cheaper properties next door? Disneyland's actions made me a guest for life...and trust me we went back many times. It has been years since this event happened, but I can tell you I have repeated this story many, many times a year to people. Whenever I was asked for a recommendation of where to stay when going to Disneyland, I only gave one answer...the Disneyland Resort Properties. Disney has probably made 100 times the amount they spent to take care of me just on my recommendations and retelling of this story.

In effect, I have become a living commercial for Disneyland Resort Properties. Now, most businesses don't have the financial resources to go to the extent that I experienced. However, you can set up your culture and train your staff to be empowered to go above and beyond to take care of a customer and create memorable moment.

When you create a memorable moment for a customer, you have not only created a customer for life, but this person will become your personal billboard. Plus, there is no better way to say Thank You to a customer than giving them great service every day and with every experience they have with you.

Have a great Thanksgiving weekend!

1 comment:

Laurie Brown said...

You are so right. The fact is our customers are always talking about us. We need to be that positve personal billboard you are talking about.
If we give our customers reason to be a negative personal billboard it can be devastating.