Thursday, September 08, 2016

Putting your customer first

If you want to learn more about customer service, go to Nova Scotia.

We found in our recent trip that staff at hotels, restaurants and in local stores all treated you with such a friendly, helpful manner. It was refreshing.  Everyone was cheerful, asking questions and would strike up a conversation with you. As a result, you left feeling respected and valued. 

And who doesn’t want to feel that way?   It was almost as if they were thrilled to see you.  When I think about how you are received elsewhere, it can be way different.  Sometimes you are lucky to get a smile and everything seems a chore to the person "helping" you.

We chose to stay in bed and breakfasts as we travelled around, and that’s where we noticed some real differences.  At the first B & B, the owner, who in fairness was heading off to Europe the following day, was a bit curt.  Quick to tell us all the rules and regulations of the establishment, and we had to say exactly what time we would be down for breakfast, with three choices provided.  And when we selected the latest time possible, it was met with a frown of disapproval.

Fortunately for us, the “guest hosts” were charming.  Hannah Clare was warm and friendly, taking an interest in those staying there.  She’d just retired as a palliative care nurse, and I am sure she was amazing with her patients and their families.

At our next stop, the welcoming reception was so different.  Maps, advice on local places of interest and restaurants all provided. Breakfast was available for three hours and you just came down when you were ready to eat. 

Whereas the first B&B was focused on what worked for them, the second one was paying attention to the needs of the guests. Now, there’s a real customer service lesson to be learned here. 

When we focus on what we want to deliver, whether it suits the customer or not, we somehow miss the boat. On the other hand, when we think about what the customer needs and wants, and provide it, we hit the jackpot.

I know I have been guilty of putting my needs first.  For the last couple of years, for example, I stopped offering evening events.  Oh I kidded myself that the women were busy and didn’t want to come out at night, but truth is, I was the one who didn’t want to work evenings.  Wrong decision, made for the wrong reason.

When we let go of what we want, and focus on what our customer wants – we are way ahead.  I am pleased to say evening events are back at Company of Women.  I don’t come to them all – but then I don’t need to.  I have a great team – but that’s a whole other blog.

To wrap up this one, I thoroughly recommend Nova Scotia and if you want to know where to stay – give me a call.

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