Crucial Question: When is a customer an inconvenience?

customer service, service, accountability, qbq

The Philosophy

In Flipping the Switch (the companion to the QBQ! book), we write this:

“Organizations don’t serve people, individuals serve people. In the customers’ eyes the institution is only as good as the person they are interacting with at that moment. In other words, the individual is the organization.”

The Set-up

Though I was driving farm tractors and pick-up trucks by age 13, not to mention replacing my 1970 Plymouth Valiant’s water pump and radiator at 20, I’ve never felt super comfortable in auto parts stores. I’m probably not alone.

If there is ever a time to help me feel welcome, it’s in an auto parts store.

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Winning and Losing Customers Is … a Choice!

service, customersWould you agree that some organizations seem to purposely choose to lose customers? It’s as if they go out of their way to do so.

While other organizations (the excellent ones) choose to win/keep customers by simply following the advice of Maj. Frank Burns of M*A*S*H 1970s fame who said, “It’s nice to be nice to the nice.”

Not a bad customer service philosophy, eh? 🙂

Let’s look at two customer service paths organizations—and people—can choose. These real stories come to us from real people who are real customers. Thanks to Eli and Kelly for their stories!

How To Lose A Customer

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Outstanding Customer Service: Ace Is The Place Where Rob Works

service, customer service, accountability, qbqOur most recent blog below (don’t miss our giveaway!) was titled “13 Reasons NOT To Be In Retail.” Here’s someone who is perfect for retail!

I phoned our local Ace Hardware store before it opened early one morning and heard this bright, cheery, energetic, and clear voice:
 
“Good morning! Ace of Reunion! This is Rob, how may I help you?”
 
I understood every word. His tone invited me in. He gave me his name with no mumbling. Wow!
 
I paused for just a second, taking in Rob’s phone demeanor and how I was now feeling about calling the store. I didn’t comment on his customer service, though. I simply proceeded with “Good morning, Rob!” and my question …
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QBQ! Customer Service Defined: When They Wait On The Porch For You!

Pre-order our new tool for practicing ACCOUNTABILITY: The QBQ! Workbook

Amazon         Barnes & Noble         IndieBound          Indigo        Books-A-Million

customer service

When I wrote the QBQ! book, little did I know people would view it as something other than a tool to bust blame, vanquish victim thinking, and purge procrastination from their organizations and lives. Some readers see it simply as Cathy sees it—a way to describe outstanding customer service. Enjoy her story!

Cathy’s Story of Outstanding QBQ! Customer Service:

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What We Have Here Is a Failure to Practice PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY

Amanda - Tony's bride - thumbing for a ride!

Amanda – Tony’s bride – thumbing for a ride!

Tony, a QBQ! training distributor for ten years, just retired. We were proud to have him on our team for many reasons. One of those reasons is … he gets it.

Enjoy his “lousy customer service” story! 

John, on my son, Tony’s, big day, the wedding party of 11 was picked up in a stretch limo for the hour ride to the ceremony location. Right away we noticed the vehicle’s air conditioning wasn’t working well and within minutes the driver pulled over to the shoulder of the busy 4-lane highway because …

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Lousy Customer Service Starts At The Top

O book

Silly me.

Every time I think the corporate world has a handle on this “customer service” thing, I hear an anecdote like the one below.

When we wrote Outstanding!—which Dave Ramsey endorsed because he knows how critical it is to not be mediocre—we included at least five chapters that today’s story could have fit into:

Never Forget Who Pays the Bills

Put People Before Policies

Management Sets the Cultural Tone

Keep “The Mission” Top of Mind

Get Actions in Line with Values

But, since Outstanding! is already written, we’ll use it in this QBQ! QuickNote.

In response to our Outstanding Customer Service: Seize the Moment! blog published recently, Paul sent us his story …

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Outstanding Customer Service: Seize the Moment!

outstanding customer service happens in moments

As dinner wound down at the well-known steakhouse, our server, Joey, brought dessert and coffee. Now, just so you know, each of us in our party of four loves coffee, preferring it black and DARK.

As Joey walked away, though, we peered into our cups and expressed a collective, “Yuck!”

Have you heard the “hot water with a brown crayon dipped into it” phrase? That’s what we’d just been served.

At $2.95 per cup!

I waved Joey over to express some disappointment and get our small problem solved, but it wasn’t long before I realized I wasn’t going to get what I wanted.

Was he rude, snippy, or combative? No, not at all …

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Don’t Get Fired … Be Outstanding!

Happy 2015 to all! Our first blog of the year is longer than usual, but worth reading and applying. So grab a cup of coffee and enjoy!

3D Fired Button Click Here Block Text over white background

“Do people fire companies? Yes, they do!”

That was the beginning of an email sent to me by Steve Chamberlin, an executive with Husqvarna. The statement became the theme of our Outstanding! book.

Essentially, we maintain that people fire organizations—but they don’t fire the outstanding ones.

When we wrote the book, we used lots of stories, never knowing that later we’d stumble across one of the clearest examples ever of what happens when organizations are not outstanding.

Our story comes from Michael Miller and his wife, Casey, who run their own business—SunPrairieFilms.com—where being outstanding is imperative for success.

Here is their email to a credit union they left after only a couple weeks. As you read it, ask yourself—and discuss with your team—this critical question:

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