Do you want the business, but not the burden of your customer?

Karen Hitchcock Creative Gun

Roped Into Service

No, this post is not about dogs, even though it’s fun to find an excuse to post a picture of my ridiculous pooch. It’s about great customer service–a concept that fewer and fewer companies seem to embrace, even as they grapple to build online communities or increase market share or open another location. They want the business, but not the burden of us customers.

That’s why I get really jazzed when I receive outstanding service, which I did twice (yes, twice!) in the last two weeks. Even more amazing is that this service came from two companies that don’t have much industry competition. They went above and beyond, even though they didn’t “have” to.

I won’t bore you with all the details…just the gist so you might keep them in mind as you help your own customers. After an errant construction site bolt punctured my tire, I fretted: Do I make an appointment with my preferred dealer? If I have to wait for one, the tire will most likely be flat, which means I’ll need to flex my feminist muscles by installing the spare or having the expense of a tow. Or do I go to my nearest car care center? Aaagh!

A phone call to Zimbrick Honda answered all my questions. Yes, we’ll help you. Drive straight here. Within 30 minutes, my tire was patched. As I pulled out my debit card, Dean said, “Don’t worry about it. It’s our pleasure. No charge today.”

This small, but meaningful gesture told me two things. First, that Zimbrick’s customer service philosophy is about the long-term relationship. And second, that Zimbrick must empower its employees to execute this philosophy. (So often you see the “Customer Comes First” plaque on the wall and the person behind the counter is staring at you like you’re an alien).

As a result of Dean’s help with my tire, I Tweeted about Zimbrick and now I’m blogging about them. Hey, look! I’m a Zimbrick Evangelist — all for the price of one $5 tire patch.

The second company that I want to rave about is the Canine Butler. Unlike Zimbrick, which probably employs hundreds, the Canine Butler is a one-man show. He picks up a bucket of dog waste once a week – a service I consider essential as a Great Dane owner. So essential that he could commit just about any atrocity and I’d still pay him to take that bucket away.

Instead, Peter of The Canine Butler goes above and beyond with the smallest of gestures, like treats for the dog left in the mailbox and an animal joke of the week. He’s always on time and professional. And this past Saturday, I received his holiday card in the mail.

To sum up (because at 483 words, this is now article-length), whether you’re large company or a small one, don’t lose sight of the little things that you can do to build lasting impressions and relationships.

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