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The Customer is the Key! - Customer Service Week

Provide your team with inspiring reminders that
"THE CUSTOMER IS THE KEY!"

With Customer Service Week just around the corner, we'd like to offer you inspiring ways to get your staff geared up to provide exceptional customer service all year long.

In the spirit of Customer Service Week, we've excerpted five real-life stories of exceptional customer service featured in Ken Blanchard and Barbara Glanz' book, "The Simple Truths of Service" and included them here. Simply cut and paste them into your own "The Customer is the Key" series of emails and share them with every member of your organization each day during Customer Service Week. These inspiring nuggets will have everyone on your team focused on providing extraordinary customer care.

4 Weeks Prior to Customer Service Week:
In the book "The Simple Truths of Service," author Barbara Glanz suggests that giving your own "personal signature" to your work can make a world of difference to your customers and offers this inspiring example:

"A baggage attendant for a major airline decided that his personal signature would be to collect all the luggage tags that fell off customers' suitcases. In the past, the tags had simply been tossed into the garbage. The attendant decided that in his free time he would send the tags back to their owners with a note saying, ‘Thank you for flying with us.'"

Transforming a potentially negative customer experience into a positive one requires a little creativity, extra effort and, above all, a sense of pride in the service you provide. Have you put your signature on your work today?

3 Weeks Prior to Customer Service Week:
As they were preparing for the grand opening of San Diego's Petco Park baseball stadium, every employee, regardless of which "department" they were part of, was trained to focus not simply on their individual duties but, more importantly, on creating great fan memories. During that first summer, the stadium owners received 7,500 unsolicited notes and letters from fans detailing a variety of extraordinary service experiences including this remarkable story.

A woman who had brought her small baby to the game one night ran out of milk. She went to one of the concession stands and asked for some milk. A young man behind the counter said, "We don't sell milk here, but I know where I can get it. What's your seat number?" This young man had someone cover his station while he raced out of the ballpark and down the street to a convenience store where he bought a carton of milk. He came back, heated the milk, and took it to the waiting mother.

With caring service like this, would you be surprised if this satisfied customer returned to Petco Park in the future? Memorable experiences like this make lifetime fans of customers.

2 Weeks Prior to Customer Service Week:
"When you're given lemons, make lemonade." It's not just a cliché. It's good business. Author Barbara Glanz relates the following story of one grocery store that took this advice to heart…and to the hearts of their customers.

When the staff of the store's floral department found themselves discarding broken flowers and unused corsages, common casualties of the floral trade, they reconsidered their options. Instead of tossing away these still-valuable items, they sought out elderly women and little girls shopping in the store and pinned the flowers on them.

Imagine the good will and caring atmosphere they created by simply making the most out of their situation.

1 Week Prior to Customer Service Week:
As basic as it may sound, when you've made an error, do what's right for the customer—always. Author Ken Blanchard offers this classic example:

"A friend of mine ordered two fish tacos at one of the concessions stands at Petco Park in San Diego. When he got back to his seat, he took a bite and discovered that they had given him chicken tacos. Since he was yearning for fish, he returned to the concession stand to exchange them. When he told the counter person what had happened, the young man's initial response was, "Let me talk to my supervisor." A more experienced worker next to him heard the conversation and said, "You don't have to ask the supervisor. This man did not get what he wanted, so give him two fish tacos. We work for him."

Making good makes good sense.

During Customer Service Week:
When it comes to extraordinary service, everyone in an organization plays a role. Author Ken Blanchard relates this inspiring example:

"While I was staying at the Marriott in Orlando, the phone rang for my seven o'clock wake-up call. I picked it up and, instead of an automated voice message, a woman said, ‘Good morning, Dr. Blanchard, this is Teresa. It's seven o'clock. It's going to be seventy-five and beautiful in Orlando today, but your ticket says you're leaving. Where are you going?'

Taken aback, I stammered, ‘I'm going to New York City.' She countered with, ‘Let me look at the USA Today weather map. Oh, no! It's going to be forty degrees and rainy in New York today. Can't you stay?'

Now where do you think I want to stay when I go to Orlando? I want to stay at the Marriott so I can talk to Teresa in the morning!"

Regardless of your title or position, consider what role you can play in dazzling your customers this week and every week.