Customer Serve Us
You can learn a lot from watching a girl’s fast-pitch softball tournament. Teamwork; combined with individual achievement and vocal encouragement of fellow players dot the landscape of tournament play. But that’s not what I’m talking about. The learning comes when you observe the parents.
My daughter played in a tournament over the weekend at an indoor facility, which at the outset seemed pretty cool. Indoor softball - who knew, right? That ‘Stepford’ feeling began when I noticed, just under the welcome sign and beautifully designed logo, an impressively imposing list of all you cannot do while enjoying this state of the art facility. No gum, no seeds, no cleats, no smoking (Well, I have to admit, I agree with that one). The biggest NO of all: No outside food or beverages. That includes water. It is a beverage after all, and they do have water fountains in the restrooms. (All I could say to that was, ‘Eww.’)
Ok, I understand to a degree – they do have a restaurant and a captive audience. What better way to ensure a profit margin for their business? It all sounds reasonable. Right up until they close the restaurant while there are still 3 games left to be played. You think parents get upset when the ump gets a call wrong? Wait till you experience that level of anger heaped on the poor employee who has to enforce the ‘no outside food’ rule. Especially with parents whose daughter just completed a double-header, is famished, and only has 30 minutes to eat before the championship bracket begins.
This is not an environment conducive to great customer service. It was more like, ‘Customer, serve us - based on our rules and our needs.’ I learned a lot watching the parents trapped in this scenario.
A captive audience can be a powerful ally. Especially when you take the time to learn about their needs then educate, entertain, and engage them based on those needs (not your own). This is why on-hold advertising is so important. Callers are your captive audience. That time is valuable and can reinforce what your business is all about - them.
Contrary to my experience from the weekend – this ain’t rocket science, folks. Good customer service starts with having good common sense. Remember the old adage, ‘Treat people like you want to be treated?’ That is the axiom for building a great customer service system. Focus on providing the same benefit for your customers that you look for when YOU are the customer.
Just like playing stellar defense in softball opens up offensive possibilities - where one swing can alter the outcome of a game; great customer service provides an opportunity where one advertisement can make all the difference. This type of marketing builds on the reputation of the company, ultimately making the campaign more effective. Conversely, you could have the coolest ad on the planet. But if the customer service does not measure up to what is promised, that campaign will fail.
Effective marketing, whether it is a video, in print, or on-hold, works best when you focus on customer service first – and that starts with good, old-fashioned common sense…
Like leaving the restaurant open during the ENTIRE tournament.
Tom McTee, Super-Genius