I have read certain articles lately on the importance of customer service and the downfall of certain clothing stores and restaurants who constantly present bad service where the organization or owners take no responsibility for their actions or are not proactive to correct their mistakes. Below are two recent examples of customer service situations and how they were handled.
Recently my wife and I ordered take-out from a local Wild Wing restaurant in Toronto. When we order from this restaurant I always pick up as they charge $3.95 to deliver and then I have to tip the driver and I can’t justify an additional 25% cost on a $40 order. So I drive 10 minutes to the location, grab the order and return home. When the order was unpacked we noticed one of the items isn’t in the bag. When I called to verify the missing item the gentleman immediately identified that they had not included the item. If they knew that, why hadn’t they called? They had my telephone number for the order and could have contacted me to return for the item. As I had paid for it already, I decided to return to pickup my missing item. When I arrived I had to prompt the manager for some kind of compensation for their mistake having made another 20 minute round trip. The manager gave me a gift certificate for a free appetizer however the negative experience had already occurred as I shouldn’t have had to prompt for compensation on the poor customer service.
I also read a story recently about a gentleman who was at The Keg in Toronto with some friends for dinner. The evening started out with the server spilling beer on the jacket of one of the guests. You would expect that this would end up being a bad experience however it turned into a good one. The server apologized for spilling on the jacket and took full blame for the incident. When she returned with the new drinks she had spilled, the manager also came over to the table with a Keg gift certificate in the amount equal to that of getting the coat cleaned. No questions, no pointing figures, no excuses and no prompting by the guests for some kind of compensation for hardship. The staff at The Keg took full responsibility and made the situation right before the guests had time to be upset over the incident. They made a negative experience into a positive one.
What do you think the ROI is on either situation? Why don’t more organizations and restaurants take the same care as The Keg? What care do you take in your organization to address customer service?
With Facebook being one of the largest most used social networking websites in the world it provides a variety of opportunities to promote your business. By promoting your Facebook Page on your website you are spreading awareness and reaching out to new customers and fans. Linking your website to your Facebook profile encourages your customers to show their support and they can even ‘Become a fan’ when they visit your page which further promotes your company or business. This publicity can be easily and simply achieved by downloading a ‘Find us on Facebook’ badge onto your website.
The following article is about an experiment where each brand request to ‘Find us on Facebook’ was ‘found’ and ‘liked’ on Facebook for a week. The author then analysed how companies were encouraging this Facebook support and what incentive they were offering for doing so.
Do you use badges on your website to promote traffic and interest? Why should your customers “like” you?
I recently had the opportunity to visit the beautiful Hawaiian Islands where I connected with a local entrepreneur Lorie Obra of Rusty’s Hawaiian , who inspired me to buy “local”. I read about the top coffee producers in Hawaii so I planned out the long but scenic route to the southernmost tip where 2 of the 3 top coffee award winners are in the small town of Ka’u on the Big Island.
It’s evident that every new business or project has the same challenges whether you are in the sunny island of Hawaii or the heart of a bustling city like Toronto.
- Every new business or project starts with a vision. Without a clear purpose or direction you cannot take the necessary actions to move toward your vision. After retirement, Lorie’s husband dreamt of a better life. His vision took them thousands of miles west from mainland USA.
- Constant learning. If you don’t know, find out. The environment is constantly changing – people, economy, technology, etc., so you need to constantly adapt to remain competitive. With change comes learning. Lorie and her family had to learn about coffee right from planting to harvesting, packaging and sales.
- Sacrifice. Lorie and her husband gave up their life in the city to move to Hawaii. They invested their savings and city lifestyle for a dream they knew nothing about. Lorie’s husband lost his battle with cancer but his name lives on through their brand Rusty’s Hawaiian.
- Distribution. Whether it is through determined tourists, a local farmer’s market, a large corporation or online. Make sure you are reaching your target market. For Lorie, it’s not the local’s who buy from her. They enjoy weak instant coffee!
- Managing resources. I can’t stress enough the importance and value of good people. It was depressing to see the missed opportunity as overripe beans began to rot on the branches. 2 of Lorie’s workers had not shown up to work. Sound familiar?
- Plan for growth. Rusty’s Hawaiian has won multiple awards and Lorie cannot keep up with demand. Lorie still does the planting, harvesting, selling, etc. The good news is that she has asked for help. Lorie’s daughter and son-in-law just moved to Hawaii to help with the family business. Before you consider marketing resources make sure you have a growth plan in place. What do you tell your customers if you cannot fulfill orders or service quality is compromised? The good news for Lorie is that additional land is available for lease for more crops.
As a leader, you cannot lose sight of the big picture. Are you in the field’s picking or are you out meeting customers? Revisit your vision often. Is it aligned with your internal strategy? Do you know your breaking point before service or quality is compromised?
Lorie’s husband’s memory lives on through the Rusty’s brand. What will you be remembered for?
With spring upon us (though only theoretically in rainy Toronto!), it’s time to throw off the winter lethargy and get excited, enthusiastic and organized for the year ahead!
As with your efforts at home, spring cleaning in an office environment isn’t just ‘cleaning’, it is the process of organizing your online and offline worlds by sorting, deleting, filing, disposing of and generally creating order of documentation and office supplies. Don’t forget the importance of reviewing your brand, website and company policies to ensure they are current and up to date.
The below article cleverly covers these and other helpful ideas you may wish to consider in your spring clean. A tidy workspace will make for a clear mind. What methods do you use for completing your spring clean?
Article: Spring Clean Brightens Your Workday