Good Customer Service is Always in Season

Even If You’ll Never See the Customer Again

The major positive experience was with an organization that most people love to hate – a car dealership.  Our issue was that the “brake fluid is low” light came on our dashboard as we pulled into our lodging in Plymouth, MA three hours before the wedding.  We had just driven 230 miles and faced a similar drive back the next day.  Plus, the car had been in a fender bender a few days prior, so we wondered if the internal damage was worse than it looked.  Help!  Who do we turn to on a Saturday afternoon?

The answer was Colonial Ford of Plymouth, whose service manager (Dave) told us to come over and he’d see what he could do.  In an hour, he had us in and out and let us know there was no leak and we were OK to drive on Sunday.  He did this all without any monetary gain for his firm because our car was under a parts and service warranty.  Dave even got us out in time for the wedding (barely, more on that below).

The second positive experience was provided by Steven, who drove the bus between our lodgings and the wedding reception.  My wife had to catch a flight to Atlanta Sunday night, so we had to leave the reception early to get up for the long drive the next day.  The hosts had said bus service would be available all night from the reception, but we didn’t know if the 50-person bus would be used for two people.  Steven corrected that thought immediately: “we do what we promise,” he said and he did.

That could not be said for the inn in Plymouth which shall remain nameless.  They had accepted a block of 50 wedding guests for a 3:30 wedding at least 30 minutes away without ever telling the wedding hosts that their check-in time was 3:00 pm and they weren’t making exceptions.  “It’s not our fault you might be late,” they said.  I maintain that they had a duty to ask the hosts when the wedding was to take place.  Net results: guests were still streaming into the ceremony 20 minutes after it was scheduled to begin.

“The people at the inn just don’t care because they’ll never see you again,” my friend said.  That may be true, but the contrast with the service provided by Dave and Steve was stark and inspired this post.

If we’re working on a project for a client that we’re unlikely to serve again, do we consistently come up with our best effort?  Do you always do the best job possible even though there is nothing (money, praise, more business) apparently in it for you?

Equally importantly, how do you motivate people to behave that way?  What do you think?

To reach John:

Phone:  212.840.0444
LinkedIn:  John Bliss