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Great Service Is … A Choice, Focused and Personal, a Clear Expectation


By Rob Thompkins

“What’s dat fing?” my five-year-old daughter recently asked me while we dined at her favorite restaurant. My obvious response was, “What fing?” She then pointed under the recently vacated table next to ours. There, on the floor in a crumpled mass, lay a child’s doll. To be more specific, it was none other than “Woody,” the cowboy from the children’s movie Toy Story. I sat for a moment awaiting a heroic rescue by Buzz Lightyear, but when it became obvious Buzz was to be a no-show, I walked over and scooped up the doll.

I sat back down and immediately pulled the string on his back (you would too), at which point Woody exclaimed, “You’re my favorite deputy!” I guess I am, Woody, I just saved your butt!

When the restaurant manager walked by a few minutes later, I explained what had occurred. The manager could’ve responded in a variety of ways including a simple “thank you,” but his response was perfect. He said, “I’m sure someone is going to be pretty upset when he realizes he’s missing. I’m going to try and track down the owner. Thank you for finding him.” That was the end of my journey with Woody, and the beginning of this article.

Great Service Is a Choice

In the self-storage industry, we’re faced with the challenge of renting three metal walls, a concrete floor and a roll-up door to customers, and our competitors are renting a wall/floor/door combo that looks remarkably like ours. While we continue to find new and creative ways to differentiate our product, one tried and true method will always remain—providing great customer service.

Great service is a choice that combines a desire to do the right thing, some creativity, and good business practice. The manager I mentioned above was faced with a choice. The easier path would have been to say “thank you” and disappear to the back of the restaurant to toss the doll into the lost and found bin. Instead, he chose to seek the doll’s owner.

Let’s assume he was able to research the credit card activity for that day, find the family who was sitting at the table, and contact them. Certainly, they would be thrilled. What if he then decided to drop off the doll off at the family’s house, with permission of course, on his way home? What if he attached a balloon for the child?

Choices like these are made every day by individuals who truly desire to make people happy, yet understand the positive implications for the business they represent.

Great Service Is Focused and Personal

Recently, I was shopping at one of the large retail stores whose name ends in “mart.” As I was preparing to check out, I noticed the cashier, or rather “service associate,” having a conversation with the coworker bagging items. As the last of my goods made their way into a bag, the associate turned to me and said which one of these common phrases?

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