Friday, August 26, 2011

Little Things

It can be the little things that can make the difference in your day. Maybe it is a spontaneous hug from one of your children, having green stoplights all the way to work or finding money in one of your coat pockets. We take those moments, stick them in our pockets and carry them with us so that we can take them out and smile whenever we need them.

Just like with your day, it is the little things that can make the difference with customer service. I don’t visit my bank that often. These days most things are done online but maybe once a month I’ll need some cash and instead of using an ATM card I will visit my bank branch and cash a check. I think I visit because I really like the way the bank tellers make me feel. They call me by name and greet me more like a friend than as a customer. The fact that they know me as I walk up to the counter is a little thing but it makes their customer service exemplary in my book.

I try not to think that the reason that these little things make such a difference is because there are so many places where the customer service is lacking. Or to wonder why so many businesses are going the self-service route and avoiding customer service all together. I’d rather think that these small things make such a difference because they are personal in nature.

In fact, when people ask me how Mr. Subb is different than our competition one of the things that first comes to mind is about the people that work here. Most really care. They care about the customer, about providing the best service and about creating the best sandwiches that they can. I love visiting our restaurants just so I can see our people interact with our customers.

I am always impressed by how many customers are recognized. They might not know their names but they’ll have the customer’s regular order down to the exact details.

“He likes extra onions but only on half because he shares his subb with his wife and she doesn’t like onions. Make sure you wrap each half separately and twist the paper on the end of the one with onions…”

“Coffee but put a few ice cubes in it too cool it down…”

“Thursdays are Grilled Chicken days. Extra mayo on both the bottom and top of the roll...”

I like to watch for people doing things right and doing those small things that can really make the difference. Today I was in a store and a customer was asking about our Limited Time Chicken Salad Subb. He wanted to make sure that he would enjoy it. The Manager working described how we made it and assured him that he would like it and offered him a sample. He ordered a Foot Long Subb and waved off the sample. She insisted that he try it anyway so that he knew that he was getting all white meat chicken, fresh crisp celery and a delicious sandwich. A little thing but I am sure that he walked away happy.

Sometimes I don’t have to watch for these little things. Sometimes they just smack me on the head. One started with a phone call from an employee from one of our stores. Their Manager was on vacation and their District Manager was busy dealing with another urgent matter. The girl was on the verge of tears. A customer had ordered some party items and we had made the order incorrectly. The customer had specific instructions and we had failed to carry them out. The customer was upset and their anger twisted this young lady into knots. She tried to rectify the situation and told the customer that she would run new items directly to her business meeting but the damage was already done and this solution did not make the customer happy.
Our employee was clearly really upset. She did not know how to make things better and even said that she would pay for the item that she had make a mistake on. I assured her that mistakes happen to everyone and that we would never expect her to do that. We talked about how to handle the situation and she called the customer to apologize again and to make the customer happy.

A long story short…
The customer called me directly because she wanted to make sure that our employee did not get into trouble and to compliment her on how well she handled the complaint. The one thing that struck her the most was a little thing about our employee offering to personally delivering new items directly to their meeting. I know this is not really a little thing. It is a whole series of little things that in the end make all the difference.

What little things make your day or makes the difference in your customer service?

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