1. Business

Taking That Extra Step With Customers

Intro by Skip Cohen

As I read this post from Shep Hyken’s archives, one of my favorite quotes came to mind:

There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.
Roger Staubach

Everyone is working hard to rebuild their business and get back on track following a year of challenges, but how are you going to separate yourself from your competitors? What do you have to offer beyond your skillset as a photographer?

Attend any workshop with Tim and Beverly Walden, and one point they’ll always make, you’re not selling a portrait but an experience. Now take all the ingredients that go into a great experience, and you’ve got the perfect definition of excellent service.

Every client needs to feel they’re your most important customer, and best of all, it’s so easy. It starts with your attitude, great listening skills, followed by delivering beyond expectations. It’s that trust you can build with each subject that creates the loyalty for return business.

We’re a word-of-mouth industry, and an excellent experience for your customers means more referrals and the building blocks for increasing strong brand awareness.

By Shep Hyken

Sometimes a little creativity and extra effort can make a big difference in the customer experience.

One of our followers, David Turk, shared an article from a recent issue of the New York Times about how a server at an upscale restaurant “astonished” a guest with an amazing display of customer service.

The short version of the story is that a woman went to dinner at one of the finest restaurants in New York. From experience, she knew it was difficult to get her favorite beverage, Dr. Pepper, so she brought her own and requested a glass of ice—nothing else. When the server returned with a crystal glass filled with ice, she took the can of soda out of her purse and filled her glass. The server eventually took the empty can away. Several minutes later, he returned with another can of Dr. Pepper. She was, in her words, “astonished,” that the restaurant had Dr. Pepper. Well, it turns out they didn’t. The server “ran out to the corner bodega” and bought a can for her to enjoy.

I love that story, and it reminded me of a similar experience I had at a fancy restaurant. This restaurant was located in a beautiful office building. On the evening I dined there, I asked if they had root beer. The server said they didn’t, but he thought the soda machine in the lobby of the building did. In just a few minutes, he returned with a can of root beer and served it to me in a chilled beer glass.

Let’s break this down. There are at least three good lessons here:

  1. Pay attention. In both instances, the servers were paying attention to their guests. Paying attention can help you find opportunities to deliver a better experience.
  2. Care about your customers. The servers obviously cared about delivering a great service experience. They weren’t just going through the motions. It would have been easy for a server to ignore the guest who brought in Dr. Pepper, or to tell me, “I’m sorry. We don’t have root beer.”
  3. Put forth extra effort. The servers were willing to put forth a little extra effort to take care of their customers. Going to the vending machine or “running to the corner bodega” doesn’t require a big effort, but it has a huge result.

This is about taking an extra step. It would have been easy for the server at the fancy New York restaurant to happily pour the can of Dr. Pepper into a glass for the guest, and that could have been it. It would have been easy for my server to tell me they didn’t have root beer. But in both cases, these two employees took the extra step or effort to ensure the experience was great—if not amazing!

What’s your customers’ version of these requests? Where can you show a little effort and creativity to add to the customer’s experiences? The result from a little extra effort taken can have your customers saying, “They are amazing!”

Copyright © MMXX, Shep Hyken – Used with Permission