August 21, 2007

Are you delivering absurd customer service?

My blog posts are all over the map. The last one was about Popeye's vs Hooters' Buffalo Shrimp, the one before that about Community Server theming, some about web development, some about pet projects, some about my family, some about cooking, fantasy football, etc. The reason that my posts are all over the map is because I'm all over the map - I have my hands in a little bit of everything. I have a variety of interests, I like trying new things, and I'm willing to try anything once.

One thing I am not haphazard about, though, is giving the little guy my business. I've mentioned before that I choose the local carpet store over the chain store because I know the owner will do me right. I choose to go to the local market down the street as often as I possibly can rather than the chain grocery store across town because the owners know me, say "hi", and occasionally set aside a choice cut of meat for my father-in-law. The list goes on and on.

What is the one thing these places have in common? Good customer service and the occasional absurd customer service.

Eric Sink recently posted about a local pet store where the owner brought him some specialty dog food from his own home when the store was out of the brand and the delivery was late. How much more absurd does it get than that? That is the kind of thing that "buys" a customer for life. The same goes for my local carpet store and local market. This type of one-time greatness overwhelms a hundred "okay" experiences by a landslide. This kind of greatness causes people to talk and become disciples. It makes people write blog posts.

Are you delivering absurd customer service? Are you enabled to deliver absurd customer service? Are you expected to deliver absurd customer service? If not, why not?

That's enough of the Seth Godin type posts. Back to my routine... mmmm... beer... good...

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  1.  avatar Dave Burke says:

    Yes, but what's the opposite of absurb customer service? :-) Gotta run.  Beer...Good.

  2.  avatar Jose Lema says:

    Lest you think that exceptional customer service is only for "the little guy" I recently watched a video where Ken Blanchard described Ritz-Carlton's ongoing committment to customer service. Apparently every staff member is empowered to commit up to $2,000 of hotel funds to solve a customer problem WITHOUT approval. He went on to describe an employee in housekeeping who ended up flying to Hawaii (and straight back) one evening to deliver important papers for an important guest (a CEO of an international company) that had accidentally left them at the hotel and desperately needed them the next day.

    At Telligent we promise Exceptional Service. Predictable Results, but that's just...WOW!

  3.  avatar says:

    Dave - touche :)

    Jose, that is just... WOW. I agree it is not just for the little guy. Those were just two good examples to use for me. Just one of the reasons I try to choose local businesses is that they usually offer better customer service. However, as you've pointed out, good customer service is not limited by your organization's size. Good customer service is only limited by your organization's commitment to it.

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