A while back I was serving a family party, a table of about 18 people and they wanted 8 different bills so I did my best to keep everything organized and present them with separate bills at the end of the meal. They thanked me profusely and one mentioned that back in England, there's no way you could get separate cheques in a restaurant and I refrained from mentioning the obvious, tips. In North America, wait staff work for tips and often go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure maximum payout if nothing else and that's where I think customer service went, out with incentive. Most people that serve you whether it be in a department store, a coffee shop, a drive-through or on a flight have little to no incentive to offer you great service. They can do the bare minimum so that they don't lose their jobs but to do anything more results in no benefit to them and therefore rarely deliver a great experience.
That's what I used to think. Then I saw the same patterns in people who work for themselves, a complete lack of imagination and empathy. Do you, small or large business owner ever think of how the customer may feel? Does the doctor ever think of giving you a ring to see if the medication he prescribed actually worked? Do you ever think that your client is pacing the floors waiting for your reply? Do you even care if a previous client may need you again and has forgotten about your existence? It's easy to sell something to somebody once but can you sell something to the same person a second time?
Earlier this year I took a job at a new restaurant. They spent a lot of money renovating the place, a lot of time obtaining a stellar staff, getting uniforms, advertising, creating events and attracting new clientele only for a few months down the road to close for good. One thing they had overlooked was the food. They fired the chef, dumbed down the menu and cheated their customers on quality of food. Really? Do everything right but the food? That's what I thought restaurants were all about but I've seen 'Restaurant Makeover' and they aren't the only ones.
Take some time small business owner and think about what you do and do it exceptionally. Remember your clients even when they aren't in front of you. And big business, listen up and if you do nothing else, think about what would give your employees incentive to sell your stuff, be loyal, promote your brand and stay with you for life.
Not everyone will be observing and dissecting your business the way I do but remember this one thing; people may not remember what you did or didn't do but they will remember how you made them feel.