Beyond ordinary service

The other evening while scrolling through the channels I came upon Undercover Boss. It’s not a show I normally watch, but the part I came up seemed interesting. The boss was the CEO of a large department chain. He was working with a fashion consultant who had impressed him with her ability to know what her clients want and the relationship she seemed to have with them. He asked about her relationships with those clients.

She explained that she knew many of her clients personally and knew what they liked and would probably purchase. She said that when new items came in that she thought people would be interested in she would take pictures on her cell phone and send them in emails to her clients. She had a large number of contacts. She admitted it was against store policy to use personal cell phones for that purpose, but she found that it was a good way to stay in contact with her clients and many of them did come in to purchase the items she sent them.

Later in the show when the CEO revealed himself to the people he worked with he complimented the fashion consultant on the relationships she had developed with her clients and her interactions with them. He was very impressed with the initiative she showed in sending pictures of merchandise she thought they would want to buy to her clients. He was so impressed that he told her that the company would begin providing cell phones and i-Pads to every fashion consultant who worked for the chain so they could begin doing the same thing.

So many people in business are satisfied with providing good customer service that they never think about how they can exceed that and create life-long loyal clients resulting in increased business. Going the extra mile can make a big difference.

Several years ago when I was serving as the pastor of a small church I needed to buy some new suits. I saw where a large department store had a sale on their better suits. I bought one of them and later began to get cards from the salesman (This was before email.). He sent me a birthday card and sent cards letting me know of sales the store was conducting. The next fall I received a card letting me know they had their suits on sale again. I bought two suits that time along with some dress shirts and ties. Every year for the next several years I continued to receive cards from this salesman and I continued to buy a new suit each year. If I went to the store when he wasn’t working I didn’t buy anything until he could wait on me.

One year I went in and learned the salesman had left the company. The salesman I talked to didn’t seem like he was too interested in whether I bought anything or not, so I didn’t. In fact, I never bought another suit from that store.

People want to do business with people they like and who are willing to go the extra mile to provide superior service and products. In fact, they are willing to pay a little more to do business with such people.

Providing superior service isn’t something you do once in a while. It must become something you do every day. Every day you should think about how you can raise the bar on the service you provide your clients. Look for best practices, not only within your field, but best practices that other companies in other fields are doing. Go the extra mile. Build relationships with your clients so they won’t want to do business with anyone but you. You’ll be surprised at how doing so will affect your bottom line, and it will make being in business more fun as well.

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