Get creative and strive to give remarkable service

September 5, 2014 By and    

A customer stopped in the office to close her account because she was moving out of town. As she walked out the door, I said, “Thank you for your business all these years.” She turned and said cheerfully, “We never had any complaints.”

I was disappointed. After being our customer for many years, the best thing she could say was she “didn’t have any complaints”? Yikes! It was something a girl in high school might have said after dating me for several months but, please, not a customer. Is that the best we can do as a company – to simply avoid customer complaints?

“Remarkable” service is what gets people’s attention. For example, a Southwest Airlines Honor Flight carrying veterans returning to St. Louis from Washington, D.C., was diverted recently by a storm, leaving the passengers stranded away from home. Typically, an airline would have provided hotel rooms for the veterans. But instead of doing what they would have been expected to do, a Southwest representative was able to locate and bring in another plane and crew to get them home the same night. If some of the passengers hadn’t put it on Facebook the next day, no one would have known about the incident. Remarkable.

I wish I could say that our company always gives remarkable service. We don’t. But learning how other people use creative ways to serve their customers is valuable and teaches us to look for ways to be remarkable, too.

Ken Albrecht is president of Reliable Propane in Clarence Center, N.Y.

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