I’m a fanatic about customer service. An absolute freak. Ask anyone on the Curry’s Auto Service team. My guess is they will agree–and that they also understand the bigger picture that this devotion to our customers is good for everyone as it will help us continue to grow.
Because it is ingrained in me, my focus on service extends into every area of my work and life. For example, we recently purchased a stove from Wolf, which is supposed to be one of the best appliance brands and is a sister brand of the famous Sub-Zero refrigerators.
When you purchase a high-end brand like Wolf or Sub-Zero–or let’s say you make a reservation to stay at a Ritz Carlton or decide to buy a Porsche–you don’t stop to ask whether this will be a good experience. You are assuming, based on a number of factors (your personal experience, word of mouth, online research), that your experience will meet or exceed your expectations–and you’re willing to pay more to make sure that is the case. You don’t ask the reservations agent, “Is Maui one of the good Ritz properties?” You shouldn’t have to ask. The experience should be world-class at every Ritz property.
As such, I didn’t inquire whether this particular Wolf stove was one of the “good” Wolf stoves, or, for that matter, whether this was a good Wolf dealer. I assumed. And, as you can probably tell from the tone of this post, my assumption was incorrect.
The fan in the stove was defective from day one. On top of that, the dealer visited our home no less than seven times in their attempts to fix the unit. And each subsequent technician blamed the one who came out before.
All they had to do was replace the stove. But after seven visits they finally replaced the fan motor. Bad decision–and a bad, time-wasting experience for us. So now, no matter how highly I thought of the Wolf brand before this, there will always be an asterisk next to it in my mind. (I won’t even get into the fact that after all this, three out of the four control knobs broke.)
It’s a great reminder to all business owners and CEOs that our emphasis on customer service and quality cannot be occasional, sporadic, inconsistent or even “99%.” It can’t just be a theme at an annual kickoff or sales meeting. You can’t do it with just a bumper sticker.
The solution is good, old-fashioned commitment and dedication to creating and fostering a company culture that emphasizes honesty, integrity, responsiveness, overall excellence and a great customer experience from the top down.
This commitment must be never-ending and relentless. Otherwise you’ll risk the asterisk.