"Guys, you should really be getting credit for what you are already doing" - David Kingery
There are simple things that people say to you off hand that end up having a big impact. Several years ago, when Gray Hill was building the real-time traffic site 511.org, we were subconsultants to Parsons Brinckerhoff and David Kingery was our key contact.
This project was very involved with staggering amounts of bureaucracy. As a small company, we were trying to be above-and-beyond with responsiveness and to anticipate problems. When you anticipate problems, you usually repair them before they are an issue. Then, no one notices.
You did something good, no one noticed.
That's fine, you don't always need to be praised for everything you do.
However, it is frustrating when people only notice what is wrong and never appreciate what is right. In one meeting, we voiced that very frustration. David then said the quote above.
Good customer service means nothing if your customer doesn't know it happened. They may be happy with the service, but not fully appreciate the effort. That means, inevitably, they under-value the service.
Today I received the letter below from Zappos, an on-line shoe sales company. They did something mundane and incredible. They shipped my shoes in one day instead of one week. Nice for me, because my Nikes are toast and spring is here, which means I go back to my 6 to 10 miles a day.
Did Zappos do anything screamingly amazing? No. But it was effort and the note lets me know they are excited about it and like to have me as a customer.
Would they like any customer? Sure. But this makes it very obvious that they are trying to make my experience better.
Most places would have said, "Wow, we're shipping this early, he'll like that." And I would have said, "Wow, it arrived early." But there would have been no focus on the action.
Zappos is getting credit for what they are already doing.
Dear Jim Benson,
Although you originally ordered Standard (4 to 5 business days) shipping and handling, we have given your order special priority processing in our warehouse and are upgrading the shipping and delivery time frame for your order.
Your order will ship out today and be given a special priority shipping status so that you can receive your order even faster than we originally promised!
Please note that this is being done at no additional cost to you. It is simply our way of saying thank you for being our customer.
New Balance M755 - Silver/Black - 10.5/D - Medium
The order above has already been packed and we will be emailing you your tracking number later today, when our computer systems are finished processing all of today's transactions.
We are constantly striving to improve our service. If there is
anything that we can do to help improve your experience, please don't hesitate to let us know. We like to think of ourselves as a service company that happens to sell shoes and handbags.
If you've enjoyed your experience with us, please tell your friends
and family about Zappos.com!