A Deep Culture of Customer Service

Jan 13

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The other day I visited a business called Staging Connections in Adelaide, South Australia. They are an events company and I was simply collecting a video clip on a USB stick for a project I was working on.  I wasn’t even a client of theirs – just a guy calling in. Some businesses may even have seen me as a bit of a nuisance. There was nothing about me at that moment that was going to benefit them or add to their bottom line. That being said, let me tell you what happened when I arrived.

I pulled up in the car park near the warehouse roller door. I saw a couple of blokes moving cases and cardboard boxes around. I took one step inside the door and the first guy made eye contact with me, smiled, said G’day and asked how he could help me. I said I was there to collect something and I asked if he was the person I was looking for. He replied that he was not that person, but gave me his name and while extending his hand he asked my name. He offered to stop what he was doing and take me to see the person I was looking for.

I walked past the other guy in the warehouse and he promptly apologised for the mess using my name in his apology. He said “Sorry Simon, we’re just cleaning up around the place”. I told him that’s OK and kept following the other guy. Over the next few minutes I was politely invited to wait and then proceed through the various departments of the business until I met up with the person I was looking for.

Each person I encountered treated me like I was the most important person they had seen all day. You could expect this perhaps from the front desk staff or sales team, but the first people I met were busy in the warehouse and could have ignored me hoping that someone else would ask what I needed. This, however, was not the case. I felt completely welcome and quickly became aware that I was standing in a business with a deep culture of customer service.

I asked the person I had come to see about this phenomenon. Was it intentional? Was it part of the plan? As we spoke further I began to see that this was definitely part of the way they do business.

Let me say again, I wasn’t there to spend any money and if I hadn’t turned up when I did, their day would have gone on as normal. This experience reminded me of the impact we can have on the lives of other people simply by how we speak to and value them – even when they may not directly affect what we are doing.  Here are the things I remember about my visit:

•  Eye contact and enthusiastic greetings.

•  Hand shakes that made me feel welcome.

•  People stopped what they were doing long enough to make me feel comfortable and that it was OK that I was there.

•  Answers to my questions that were proof I had been listened to.

•  A farewell that made me feel that if I came back it would all happen again.

These are powerful principles that I just had to write about. I don’t even know if the people there realise how noticeable they were. But in a world where too many shop assistants and sales people announce their presence with “You right?” and “You don’t want any help do you?”, these people were shining lights displaying a culture that would revolutionise any place of business.

5 comments

  1. Absolutely brilliant! Just think, if every business and management was ‘wired’ that way what a world it would be!! I reckon 9 times out of 10 it’s ‘top down’.

    • Simon Malcolm /

      You’re right Sam – from what I remember, you’d be one of the business leaders that would get this right – I hope you’re going well – Jungle Brolly is a great product – we use it every day :)

  2. Shane Snellgrove /

    That overwhelming feeling of being treated individually and not as a nuisance is mandatory in todays business. Great article Simon!

    • Simon Malcolm /

      You’re right Shane – from memory, you are an excellent example of doing this very well – hope you’re selling plenty of properties.

  3. JenCapri /

    Wow, Im glad that you placed awareness to this phenomenon and that I am too with this response bc that should be the norm in our society. Maybe placing our awareness there will be like a small peep hole that might get bigger and bigger… and end up becomoing part of our reality.. Thannk you for such ingisht… i loved it!

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