I recently used a car service to get to the airport, and from the moment the car arrived I noticed that something felt different. The driver jumped out, greeted me by name, and took my bags, asking if I wanted them stored in the trunk or the car with me. Then, the driver opened the car door for me and stood back patiently while I hugged my family goodbye. I immediately noticed that the air inside the car lacked the faint smell of alcohol-induced puke that many city cabs acquire, and when I sat back, I caught a hint of clean, fresh air. The floor beneath my feet didn’t squish or crunch, and I consider that a bonus. The driver had thoughtfully moved the front passenger seat all the way to the front in anticipation that I might have legs and wish something called leg room. Finally, he offered me a crisp copy of the Wall Street Journal to read, and he pointed to a series of plugs that I could use to charge my laptop and phone.
What impressed me had nothing to do with the concept of taking a taxi to the airport or the vehicle itself; I was impressed with the driver, a young man named Justin.
My expectations were exceeded. And I said so. Justin* said something like this:
“I pretend that this car is my car, and my company. Then I try to think of all of the things that I like when I’m a passenger, and I try to do that for each customer.”
Don’t just train your employees to deliver cookie-cutter products, because product consistency is not enough to drive customer loyalty.
For example, on my last visit to a popular sandwich shop chain, I got an identical sandwich to one I’ve eaten in every state in the country: same product, same ingredients, same taste, same wrapper. But on this occasion, the sandwich maker named Tammy never established eye contact with me, she mumbled when she spoke, and then she asked me to repeat every word I said several times while chiding me with —
“What? You gotta speak up.”
Tammy’s sandwich met my expectations, but her personality left a lasting and negative impression on me. Tammy acted like she rented her job, and she didn’t care if I ever did business with her–or her large chain–again. I won’t return to that outlet store. And if I receive similarly poor personal service from that chain in the future, I will eat at a new sandwich shop.
Require more from yourself and your employees. Find ways to deliver personable, customized service that makes customers want to spread this word: WOW! Charge your employees to deliver special, unique ways to engage customers and create positive memories, like Justin did when he drove me to the airport. He not only met my expectations of getting me to the airport safely and on time, but he also added personal, special touches that will make me do business with him again–and his company–when I return to Chicago.
Act as if you own the company, and then ask yourself these two questions:
- How am I providing service that creates lasting and positive experiences for my customers so they will come back over and over again?
- How am I empowering my employees so that they can do the same thing?
*If you need a lift to or from a Chicago airport, book a ride from Justin T. with AAA Express by calling 630 355 4411.