Customer Service is all about making our customers’ lives better… and one way to WOW them is to be proactive in our quest to serve them at the highest levels.
Take, for example, the following simple nuance of customer service often overlooked by many companies that offer 24-hour service. The normal scenario for this type of service is:
- Some locations are open 24 hours, while others are not.
- If customers need to visit after hours, they may know where the nearest one is (if they live in the area) or they can go online to find a 24-hour location.
- However, if they are out and about and happen to be near a location that is closed (or if they don’t know the area come across a closed store), they often don’t know where to turn to find one that’s open.
- Even though many people do have access to a computer or smartphone, many do not… and what if there isn’t time to mess with a computer or phone to try to find a location that’s open? Or what if it just isn’t easy or convenient for the customer to search for it on the spot? In that case, they must either drive around trying to find an open store, or stop to ask directions. (By the way, have you tried this lately? I’m stunned by the number of people who work at places where they don’t know the first thing about their surrounding area!)
Enter Walgreens, who obviously thought all the way through the nuances of their 24-hour pharmacy service. Rather than simply leaving customers high-and-dry in a closed drive-thru with no clue as to how or where to get the service they were seeking there, Walgreens posted a sign informing visitors of the location of the nearest 24-hour location.
This is a simple but WOW example of how companies can use proactive thinking to play through a given scenario ahead of time and figure out how to serve customers at the highest level. (And yes, I realize that if the visitor doesn’t know where the posted 24-hour location is, it still doesn’t help them much… but it does help them a little and at least gives them an address as a starting point. And hey, Walgreens can’t actually drive people there; even they have limits and can only go so far. The WOW nuance is that they displayed foresight and compassion for the health and convenience of their pharmacy customers, and went as far as they could to make it easy and convenient for visitors to find an open location nearby.)
Any organization can do exercises to think through various scenarios with team members. Ask them to get together, brainstorm ideas based on how they see customers using your products and services and come up with ways to improve them. Even small improvements are appreciated by customers… and these exercises are easy, rewarding and cost virtually nothing to accomplish.
Here’s the best part: when a team member comes up with an idea that is helpful, and then gets implemented, it’s personally gratifying, as well. Asking team members to engage in this manner is a gift that keeps on giving because it serves customers, creates more customer satisfaction and loyalty (and thus, sales and profits), and lets people know that they do make a difference!
What a way to create a win-win-win!