Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Meaning of Customer Service

You know, for many years I have heard people boast about "customer service" in their business being the thing that sets them apart. And I always thought that something like that should be pretty freaking Captain Obvious. But I'd like to share with you a story that will open your eyes a bit; it certainly has done so for me...

A few weeks ago I dropped into The Chuggin Rhino after work for a well-deserved drink. (They are located on the corner of route 45 and 202 in Pomona, just down the block from the Rockland Boulders Stadium)

I sat down at a table by myself, and the waitress promptly came over to take my order. I ordered my usual Sam Adams draft and a burger that is the size of a small country. (I've had them before at the Chug...they're good.)

Anyway after a few minutes I got kind of restless and wanted to read the newspaper. I asked the waitress if she had one in the back, and she said "Let me go check." A minute later she asked which one I wanted, and I said the Journal News. Then she was gone for about 5 minutes...

When she returned, she gave me what looked like a new newspaper. So I asked her "Did you go out and buy this?" She said yes. I was astounded - later I asked her why she did this, and she said that the owner, John Rodriguez has always emphasized making the customers feel as comfortable as possible. She also said that she knows that some customers don't always feel like talking to other patrons and there is usually a newspaper there. On this day, it seems someone discarded it already, so she went out and got a fresh one for me. (She also joked with a wink that she knows it increases her tip. She was very right and deservedly so!) I thanked her for being so courteous.

A few minutes later, I went outside to make a phone call. When I returned, I noticed that the burger I was eating was gone. Before I could ask questions, a waiter came back with it, put it on the table again, and explained that he put it under a heat lamp to keep it warm, while I was outside making my call!

Wow.

I'll tell you this: From this experience alone I have recommitted to the practice of giving good customer service for everyone who needs work from Rockland Web Design. For many years, I focused on various elements of building the foundation of the business: marketing, design process, seo, social media, administration, infrastructure, and a whole lot of other things that segment my time. And a lot of it involves numbers, numbers numbers.

But I've come to realize that numbers alone do not make a successful business. Everyone that encounters us has to come away from the experience with that same "wow" that I got at the Chuggin Rhino that day. They should all be smiling like they just got the best...burger of their life!

I won't be following up with a post on how we pride ourselves on customer service. I just hope we simply perform more acts in the future that allow us to continually improve, and be able to smile at our customers when they thank us at the end, responding with a "...no worries, hope to see you again soon."

I hope you do the same in your business. Especially if your business prides itself on customer service.

3 comments:

CarmenD said...

I've experienced nothing but excellent service at the Rhino. From the bar staff to the wait staff to John, himself. Regardless of the industry, it is difficult to find good, much less great, customer service. It is a prized commodity. I suppose that is a sad commentary on modern life.

goddess said...

My name is Goddess Santiago (your waitress that evening) and i just want to say thank you for the compliments. I was just looking at the website and saw your blog. I'm actually honored by what you wrote. thank you

Tom from Rockland Web Design said...

@goddess: You're very welcome! I was unbelievably impressed, and even more so that you simply anticipated my need.

From that experience I went back to the Rockland Web Design team and we came up with a plan for better, more proactive customer service. So actually you were the reason our company got even better!

Thanks again and hope to see you again in the future.