By Dick Stark
“The function of a business is to get and keep customers.”
–Dr. Ted Levitt, Harvard Business School
Thanks to social media and on-line business/retail evaluation and ratings sites, companies now compete on a completely different level than previously. As a result, most customers feel entitled to excellent service and often select vendors, on the basis of good service, not just product or price. This means that customer satisfaction is more important than ever.
One recent excellent customer sat story that happened to me occurred on Christmas Eve. Since I spend the majority of my time in the office, I always have packages sent to my office, not to my home. And; like in previous years I waited too long to make my on-line gift purchases. Although most of my presents arrived in time, I knew that one was not scheduled to arrive until after Christmas—nothing I could do about that.
So, I was surprised when on Christmas Eve (last Saturday) the mailman pulled up in the driveway with the remaining gift. What made this so amazing was that it was delivered not to the office, but to my home. (Christmas Eve was not a day I planned on being in the office.). It turns out that our office mailman knows me, and knows where I live because he used to have my residential route. So, he asked the mailman that has his old route to deliver the package addressed to the office to my home. It worked and I received the gift in time for Christmas!
Customer satisfaction, or “every customer a reference,” is a RightStar customer motto and a critical success factor for RightStar. What other types of customer service stories do we have? When I visited BMC in Tampa, their Director of Technical and Customer Support, told us a story about a large customer we both share. He said that they ran out of disk space recently when working BCM (AssetCore). Without flinching, BMC ordered new servers and expressed shipped them to the customer for free.
Several years ago, we did something similar for a ScanStar customer. Once we began the project, we discovered that their scanners were not compatible with ScanStar. This was surprising since we make it a point to ensure that all ScanStar customers receive our list of certified scanners. Rather than argue about who was right, we rushed five new scanners to them overnight at no cost. This guaranteed an on-time delivery and a very satisfied customer.
Likewise, our consultants are often faced with situations where a software defect has slowed our implementation progress. Rather than push the customer for a change order to make up for our lost time, we will often work “for free” until the job is complete.
Every customer a reference may be a slight stretch, since some customers may never be fully satisfied, no matter how hard we try. But, those will be the exception, not the rule.
This means that we must continue to deliver excellent customer service. In 2017, we will set customer sat metrics and measure how we’re dong not just through frequent surveys, but also with more face-to-face visits and phone calls. For 2017, we’ll continue to work hard to ensure, “every customer is a reference!”