I come from a background in the service industry, meaning I used to balance trays of food and make restaurant diners happy. Yes, I was a waitress, and I loved every minute of it. I loved customer service, which is likely why I chose the career path I did. But because of my driving passion for it, and my years of experience waiting on, and cleaning up after, restaurant patrons, I suppose I have high expectations.
Good customer service can be really hard to come by. I fear that I have far more complaints about the service I’ve received lately than I do praises. However, I recently had one experience from the new local butcher shop, The Meat House, that left me wanting more. No joke. Sometimes the most valuable lessons come from the most unusual places.
Their approach, while heads above the rest, is rooted in the basics of customer service. My experience was nothing short of exemplary, and I’m looking forward to many more visits:
- They said hello, welcomed me, and thanked me for coming. It wasn’t just a hello, I was genuinely welcomed. It was as though they appreciated my business before I even bought anything.
- They asked me if they could help me. They determined my needs, and remained attentive (without hovering or nagging) the whole time I was in the store.
- They helped me understand what I had selected and made sure I knew how to cook it. It was insurance that I’d have a great experience with their brand.
- They anticipated my needs. You might be able to make an argument that they upsold me by making sure I included a loaf of bread with my purchase, but in this case, I really did need it.
- They demonstrated an understanding of my key issues and needs, and offered to go above and beyond to accommodate me. I was making small talk with one of the managers and mentioned that I hadn’t been in yet because getting my two young kids in and out of their car seats was too much of a hassle. He immediately offered to let me call in my order and my purchase would be waiting for me and delivered to me curbside. Seriously? I was hooked.
- They left me wanting more, by delivering supreme customer service throughout my entire visit. They carried my bags to the car for me. It was very retro and visionary at the same time.
These are simple approaches to what can sometimes be a complex challenge – customer management and satisfaction. These are fundamental rules of customer service, but what sets them apart is their flawless and consistent execution of these fundamentals.
I never thought I’d be able to draw a parallel between my first visit to the butcher and working in an ad agency. But when you look at the basics of a good Agency/Client relationship, the same principles apply: make sure your clients’ know that you appreciate their business; anticipate their needs and be ready to deliver a solution; go above and beyond whenever you can. But the one thing that really struck me, was that they left me wanting more. Every time you and your client meet or converse, they should leave thinking “Boy, they do a great job, I can’t wait until we start our next project.” If not, you just open the door to a competitor.
I left feeling happy, excited about my purchase, and looking forward to another visit. And the product itself? Frankly, it was so good, that it easily could have dwarfed the customer-service experience and kept me coming back for more. Had the outcome been disappointing, I would have been willing to go back and have a discussion with the manager to resolve the issue. I would have felt compelled to give them a second chance. I would argue that this is one of the most important outcomes of good customer service. If your client has a bad experience, you want them coming back to you to discuss it – not shopping elsewhere.
And in the end, this entire experience got me thinking – what have I delivered to my clients today? Would it live up to The Meat House standards?
Palio is a full-spectrum global pharmaceutical and consumer advertising, marketing, and communications agency that excels in brand creation and specializes in brand strategy, product launches, global marketing, and digital and integrated media.