How to wow your customers

“Good morning Arden. What would you like for breakfast today?” asked Daryl, the line cook. A simple question, but what made it exceptional was Daryl remembered my name from the day before when he made a point of looking at my name badge. I hadn’t put my badge on yet that morning, but he knew my name. An impressive fact when you consider the hundreds of people he serves each day. He addressed most guests by their monikers. That is exceptional customer service!

Remembering and using someone’s name may seem somewhat insignificant, but it isn’t. It’s the small details that impress people and turn a good company into a standout company. Outstanding customer service is memorable.

In the last month, I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing extraordinary customer service from two companies.

The line cook I mentioned above works for the Boeing Leadership Center (BLC). Daryl is not the only one wowing the visitors who stay at the BLC – all of the employees do. From the front desk people to the house cleaners and everyone in between, you feel like an honored guest when you stay there.

The other company that wowed me is the Fairmont Pacific Rim in Vancouver, BC. All of the little touches and the friendly, helpful people made a very positive impression on me.

Here are some specifics that put these and other exceptional companies at the top of the list for excellent customer service.

Acknowledge People

The staff at both companies went out of their way to greet me when they saw me. Everyone said hello and wished me a good day. And they were always smiling. It puts you in a good mood when people seem happy and share a smile. You can learn more about acknowledging people in this post.

Remember Names

I’ve shared this quote by Dale Carnegie before, but it bears repeating. “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”  When you make a point of remembering someone’s name like Daryl did at the BLC. it truly leaves a lasting impression because so few people do it. If you’re not adept at remembering names this post has several helpful tips.

Wow Your Customers

At the Fairmont, shortly after we checked in, someone knocked on our door. I was greeted by a hotel employee holding a tray with fresh water in a glass container, two cups and six small gourmet chocolate pieces. She set the tray down and wished us a nice stay. It was so nice not having to drink from and pay for water out of plastic bottles. And the chocolate was AMAZING! There were descriptions on the chocolate sheet with information about each chocolate’s cocoa content and its origin. It was definitely a great way to start our stay.

Further delighting me, I discovered the mirror in the bathroom was a “magic mirror.” It had a small TV screen embedded in it. I could take a leisurely bath in the giant bathtub with the special bath salts and watch HGTV, or catch up on the news as I put on my makeup in the morning. Genius!

Another talk-worthy touch was that the skin lotion bottle label was imprinted with my name. I could have easily missed that my name was on it, but being someone who tends to notice details I was immediately awestruck. It wasn’t a slapped-on sticker, it was the same label they use on the shampoo, conditioner and bath gel, but the skin lotion label had my name printed on it. This means they print a special label for every guest who stays at the hotel whether you’re staying one day or one week. Wow, wow, wow!!!

You don’t need to spend money to create exceptional customer service. Think of Les Schwab Tire Centers. Tires are pretty ordinary, right? There isn’t much you can do to make them exciting. Wrong. Les Schwab has figured out how to provide excellent customer service and turn their customers into fans. They fix flat tires for free. They will pick you up if your car is not drivable, no charge. They are honest, friendly and have your best interest in mind.

Say Yes

Customers can be demanding and difficult. But, for those in the customer service business you’ll stand out if you find a way to say yes. If a customer needs something you don’t carry rather than saying, “We don’t stock that brand” offer an alternative item you do carry or give the buyer the name of a store that sells the article. Also, never say “we can’t do that” or “we don’t do things like that here.” Find a way to say yes.

At the BLC they always serve steak and crab legs for dinner on Thursdays and it is a favorite of everyone who stays there. But they changed the surf and turf day to Wednesday, the same evening I was teaching a dining etiquette session to a group where the attendees were being served a different meal. The people attending my presentation were disappointed they would miss the famous surf and turf dinner. Without telling us, the catering manager arranged for the dining room to stay open late so that when my presentation was finished the attendees could enjoy some steak and crab legs. You’d think you’d just told the group they’d won a million dollars; they were thrilled!! The catering manager found a way to say yes.

These are just a few ways you can turn your customers into raving fans. It’s the best money and time you’ll ever invest. Have you ever experienced exceptional customer service? What made it exceptional?

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Arden Clise is founder and president of Clise Etiquette. Her love for business etiquette began in previous jobs when she was frequently asked for etiquette, public speaking and business attire advice by executives and board members. The passion for etiquette took hold and compelled Arden to start a consulting business to help others. Read more >>

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