Quality service can keep customers coming back

“Merely satisfying customers will not be enough to earn their loyalty. Instead, they must experience exceptional service worthy of their repeat business and referral.” — Rick Tate

We are all customers and have choices regarding where we want to do our business. There are factors that influence that decision. Location, convenience, prices, and business hours are considerations. For me, and perhaps for many of you, customer service tops the list. I want to give my business to a place where I feel it is appreciated; a place where I am treated respectfully and in a friendly and efficent way.

Most businesses will say customers are their No. 1 priority, but not all take the time to ensure their employees are delivering exceptional service. Businesses spend money placing ads in the media. While that may be important, they should realize the service their employees are giving is daily advertising.

Having happy satisfied customers starts with having great customer service, and having great customer service starts with efficient hiring and training.

We have many in our community who do consistently give outstanding service. One example is Renee Campbell. She is a receptionist at ThedaCare. I have observed Renee greeting her customers with eye contact, a smile and a cheerful greeting. She is efficient, empathetic and patient. She is a prime example of someone who makes a customer feel good, no easy feat when you are there seeking medical attention.

Another example of a friendly courteous employee is Jeanean (Jeanie) Lewis. Going into Old Glory Candy is a treat, and having Jeanie wait on you makes your visit even “sweeter.” She is attentive, personable and a great conversationalist. She makes you feel as though your business is appreciated. Working in a candy store is perfect for her “sugar and spice” personality.

I love going into the Village Garden Flower Shop; however, very often I don’t know what I’m looking for. I rely on owner Cindy Lou Polzin for her suggestions, and she never disappoints. Cindy is a good listener. It is evident she wants to please her customers. She never fails to say “thank you.” She not only delivers flowers, she delivers exceptional service.

Those are just a few examples of people who are great at what they do. I tire of hearing that someone got a cold burger or when someone had to wait too long in line. I know those things happen, but let’s recognize and talk about some of the great service available here in our community.

Several customer service stories have gone viral. I think we have service stories right here in our area that could too. Here are two wonderful examples of stories about people going the extra mile. One is about a little boy who left his stuffed giraffe “Joshie” at a resort. The little boy was upset, but his father managed to convince him that Joshie was fine and taking an extended vacation at the resort.

The father called the resort and was happy to learn Joshie had been found. The father asked the Loss Prevention Team at the hotel if they would take a picture of Joshie on a lounge chair to support what he had told his son. They agreed.

What the staff sent back to the father was a true example of going the extra mile. The staff not only took pictures of Joshie in a lounge chair, but also of him hanging out with other stuffed friends, getting a massage, driving a golf cart and doing other activities around the resort. The staff also put all the pictures in a binder and created a Loss Prevention ID card for Joshie.

The “extras” the staff did were not costly to the hotel, and the positive reaction from the father, the little boy and all who heard this great customer service story was far more effective than any ad the hotel could have written.

Another great story involved a teenager preparing for his first job interview. He went into Target for a tie. A shopper named Audrey was walking through the store when she saw an older Target employee helping a young man.

The teenager had come in for a clip-on tie, which Target does not sell; so, an employee called over her fellow employee who showed the teen how to tie the tie.

Audrey witnessed this exchange and then saw the employee showing the young man how to field interview questions and how to shake hands.

There were no complicated customer service techniques at work, just a desire to help someone in need and to put forth that extra effort to make a customer’s life better.

“Isn’t it really ‘customer helping’ rather than customer service, and wouldn’t you deliver better service if you thought of it that way?” — Jeffrey Gitomer

Question: Can you name the optometrists located in Shawano in 1991?

Clothesline Conversation Answer: William Becker, Nelson Hassell, Thomas Peterson, William Stern

Lorna Marquardt is a former mayor of Shawano.