Customer Service Excellence Earns Customer for Life

September 20, 2011
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I walked into the store incognito.  I was not the professional that dropped off the print job two days ago, but rather my alter ego; a multi-tasking mom, sporting the sunglasses, track suit and ponytail pulled through the baseball cap.  My goal was to duck in, scoop up the print job, and sneak quickly back out with no one the wiser.

I wasn’t in the store one minute when I heard my name being called out loud, “Susan Dooley, how the heck are you?”. It was Margie, printing extraordinaire wishing me a warm welcome into the store.  I was actually quite taken aback; stunned that she knew my name.  Yes, I had been in several times, but the store was always very busy and I assumed I was just another faceless transaction among many.

As we exchanged pleasantries, she stopped for a moment and called over a colleague;  “Oh  Paul, come on over here, I want to introduce you to Susan Dooley”.  Paul, it turns out was the store manager.  Margie continued, “Paul, Susan is a good customer of ours.  She’s done some business cards, flyers, and other publications and I thought you’d want to say hello.”  Well he did, and he also thanked me for my business.  I reviewed my order (it was perfect, as always), paid, and hit the road.

I reflected on this exchange later.  Was I really a great customer? I don’t know, probably not. I calculated that my collective print jobs up to that point had totaled under $1000 bucks.  However, Margie made me feel like a million bucks, by remembering my name, making me feel important, and delivering consistently great work.  The fact that she recognized me even in my “incognito getup” further impressed me.

There are at least 57 print shops between my home and office, and guess where I take 100% of my work?  To the Staples print shop in Howell – to Margie specifically. That exchange was nearly two years ago, and I have taken every project to her ever since.  I don’t know if they are the cheapest and I don’t care.  Margie has pushed through rush orders, advised me on better materials for my projects, and even identified errors in my work – helping me avoid potential embarrassment and look better in front of my clients.

Margie is a true professional.  She is friendly, approachable, and consultative; she takes pride in her work, and clearly enjoys what she does for a living.  Staples should be VERY glad to have her on board, as she is an excellent ambassador for her company.  As long as Margie is behind that counter, they can count on me as a customer for life.

In your business, what are you doing to EXCEED your customer’s expectations?  How do you DELIGHT your customers?  How do you make them feel special?

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Alabama, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in Huntsville, Alabama. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter @DaleCarnegieALA

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