From the October 2011 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
By: Josh Block
This report originally appeared in the October 2011 issue of DOTmed Business News
Last weekend I took my two-year-old son golfing for the first time. In reality he would spend his time fascinated by the cart and how it could go “fast” but that’s beside the point. After we paid and loaded up the clubs, we made our way to the first tee. The gentleman at the starter house welcomed us, shook Benjamin’s hand and even noted that he recognized him from the week previous where I had brought him to the putting green to practice. While I was a little surprised, I wasn’t completely shocked since he’s the most handsome little boy ever! Next, Mike the starter went on to explain that with the wet spring and dry summer, there had been a new strain of mosquito and they were particularly bothersome on the golf course. He asked if I had any bug spray and proceeded to offer his to use. After dousing us pretty good with mosquito repellent, I hit my drive and Benjamin drove us away swerving back and forth through the wild green yonder.
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We went on to have a wonderful time. The quality of a golfing experience can generally be a balance of the cost, condition of the course, speed of play and basic amenities. But our connection with Mike stood out to me. It was like he cared about us. He cared about our experience and our enjoyment of his golf course.
But what about those of us who are so “far” from our customers – both in reference to our geographical locations and limited face-to-face interaction? Is it harder to show that you really care about a customer’s level of satisfaction over the phone or by email? The digital era has forced shifts in all sorts of corporate behavior from human resources to marketing, and there’s no question that it requires an intentional shift in the area of customer service as well. For so many of us, the days of greeting or thanking a customer with a handshake and smile are far too rare.
The following is a list of practical items to develop a higher level of customer service:
1. Care: “People respond not primarily to what you do but how you are being,” according to Leadership and Self Deception, written by the Arbinger Institute. If you care about them, they’ll know it. It’s the best place to start, doesn’t take any longer and it’s free.
2. Ask: Follow up with every customer at the end or throughout their experience with your department or company. People will be glad to share and thrilled that you cared enough to ask. Knowing more about people’s positive and negative experiences will allow you to reward, repeat and make necessary changes. Oh yeah, in most cases this one is free as well.
3. Thank: Follow up your “Ask” with a “Thank You.” Whether it’s a small gift or card, make it personal. Remember that it all leads back to the first point: care.
While technology may change the way we interact and the equipment and methods of communication we employ, people’s desire to be cared about, listened to and thanked remains the same. So take this as a challenge to incorporate these items into your daily routine. It’s the small things that make all the difference.
Josh Block is the Vice President of Imaging Solutions for Block Imaging International. He lives in Michigan with his wife Lacey and children, Anneliese (4) and Jamin (2).