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What’s it all about? Why is it so important to give great service?

Can you believe this is a question that some people still ask? I can’t. But the good news is, it presents an opportunity for me to write a blog post to help convey the message about delivering great service and, ultimately a great overall experience.

A couple weeks ago, I picked up a copy of Zingerman’s Guide to Giving Great Service. Zingerman’s is short for Zingerman’s Community of Businesses, a collection of eight different (specialty food) business units in the Ann Arbor, MI, area. They are known as much for the quality of their foods as they are for the quality of their customer service. The book has a ton of valuable teachings, but I loved the section on “why we give great service.” The following is a recap of the eight reasons they give to answer that question.

1. Great service makes us something special. Ultimately, great service, going the extra mile, and leaving a lasting impression are huge differentiators in a sea of sameness.

2. Great service is sound marketing. When you deliver great customer service, your customers will talk about you. Word of mouth marketing is the best kind of marketing.

3. Good service keeps customers coming back. Customers love good service! And they’ll come back for more of it.

4. It yields better bottom-line results. The book states the following linkages: increased sales, repeat business, reduced errors and waste, and reduces the number of problems and the time spent fixing problems, to name a few.

5. It makes for a better place to work. When you’re doing great things for your customers, it lifts everyone’s spirits. Courtesy, friendliness, and a focus on giving are all infectious.

6. It helps you attract better people to work with you. Having a reputation as a fun place to work and as a place that cares about its customers is also infectious. “Good people want to work in a good place.”

7. It’s easier. It’s easier to do things well and make things right for the customer than to fight it or to allow a mess to happen that needs to be cleaned up later.

8. It’s the right thing to do. Plain and simple.

I love how those align with what I’ve written about a few times in the past, as I’ve described what your raving fans will do for you. And if you consistently deliver a great experience, you will have raving fans! They…

  • Are less price sensitive
  • Will pay a premium for a better experience
  • Stay longer, spend more, churn less
  • Expand their purchases/relationships to other/new products or services you offer
  • May overlook product shortcomings
  • Are more likely to forgive occasional/infrequent service shortcomings (just make it right, though!)
  • Cost less (e.g., marketing, advertising, promotions)
  • Have fewer complaints
  • Provide feedback and want to help you improve and succeed
  • Become technical support for you by helping other customers (answer questions, solve problems)
  • Will evangelize the brand for you

In an upcoming post, I’ll answer the question, “Why is great service hard to find?” – also from the book.

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. -John C. Maxwell