Isolated service incidents can make or break a company’s perceived image. Single acts or actions can make or break a reputation, AND will create word-of-mouth advertising for years.
You know what I’m talking about because these incidents, good and bad, have happened to you.
In a continuing effort to recognize (and bust) the service or lack of service providers of America, I have created the Jeffrey Gitomer Service Awards. Here are a few award winners from the great side and the dark side of service.
GREAT SERVICE AWARD: H.A. Thompson, owner of Rose Limousine in Charlotte, NC, was visited by a young woman about to be married, and in search of a limo service for the wedding. While she was inside the Rose Limousine office speaking to a sales person, H.A. Thompson went outside and washed the woman’s car. She was flabbergasted, and hired Rose on the spot.
When a young person called Rose Limousine back (after shopping around) and ordered a limo for prom night, Thompson asked, “What made you choose us.” The lad replied, “You were the only person who was friendly to us.”
Question: When shopping around for something special, which wins, nice or price? HA Thompson is nice, you tell me. Be nice sometime and discover for yourself.
GREAT SERVICE – AND BEST SURPRISE AWARD: On a recent US Airways flight, the flight attendant came over and said, “Mr. Gitomer, my name is Eric DeFife, I’m here to serve you today,” and he extended his hand to shake mine. I was caught off guard. It was the first time in over 1,000 flights that this has ever occurred. I was shocked. So was the guy sitting next to me – a long time flyer, it was his first handshake ever, too. One single handshake separates Eric from thousands of other flight attendants.
STUPID MOVE AWARD: A server greets you in a restaurant and his greeting determines the tone of the meal. BUT the receptionist at the restaurant could determine if you even go or not. The other day I called an Outback Restaurant to make a reservation. “We don’t take reservations.” The hostess snipped.
“Rats.” I said. “Can you put me on the list?” “You have to come by in person to get your name added,” she said as though it was her ten thousandth time. “How many people a day call in and ask for reservations?” I inquired. “Lots,” she said, sounding in a hurry. “How many is lots?” I asked. “Ten, sometimes twenty people a day,” she said.
Well let’s see, 15 people a day, 100 people a week, average of four people in a dinner party, that’s 400 people a week. Take a two week vacation that’s 20,000 people a year that are turned away, or at least pissed at the attitude of the place. That’s a lot of money at 30 bucks a meal. They may serve good food there, they may have great service once you walk in the door, but I will never find that out. I want to feel like I matter when I call someplace to spend my money. How about you? Isn’t their slogan “No rules, just right?” Maybe they may want to change it to “No reservations, just rude.”
GREAT TITLE AWARD: Delta Dallas Staffing, in Dallas, Texas has the best employee title of the decade. Instead of “receptionist” they have renamed the front office person “Director of First Impressions.” It sets the tone for the employee as well as for the memorability of the customer. Receptionist tells you who you are. No one cares who you are. Director of First Impressions tells you what you are supposed to do, and that is more critical than who you are. What does your title say about what you do?
BIG DUH AWARD: (a letter from a reader) I was having a lot of trouble with US West regarding my phone service, so I called the CEO in Denver – a guy named Solomon D. Trujillo. When I asked to speak to him I was told by one of his assistants that he was out of town, but that he does not speak to customers. I then asked for someone else who was in charge and was told that that person doesn’t speak to customers either. Duh. Dan from Denver
ONE LINE SAYS IT ALL AWARD: Doorman Anthony Swift at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in NYC said, “Welcome to the Waldorf,” as I exited the cab. That word wins an automatic $5.00 tip (only my third award so far this year). When I explained the prize to Anthony as I was giving him the money he replied, “I like to make people feel like they’re visiting my home.” Anthony doesn’t just win the “ONE LINE” award – he also wins the “GETS IT” award.
OK – there you have the first in a series of Gitomer’s Service Awards. These awards are not going to be issued annually – oh no – they will be issued as they occur. If you have someone worthy of nomination, good or bad, just e-mail the story to email@example.com
Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org