Horst Schultze is a fascinating man. I heard him discussing excellence in customer service when he was the guest on The Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast (www.andystanley.com) recently. He is currently the CEO of Capella Hotel Group, but most famously ran the Ritz Carlton Hotels for 19 years.
So that probably qualifies him to know a thing or two about the subject.
The entire interview is a must-listen for anyone in a service-related role (...and who isn't, really?). But what jumped out to me was his discussion of the 3 things every customer wants. I love universal truths...principles that work for all people everywhere all the time. These are things you and I can put into practice today!
Every customer wants products that are:
1. Defect free
We want to know that the product (or service) we are spending our hard-earned money on is not going to break...at least not anytime soon. The instant you get the sense that a product is shoddy or a service clearly isn't going to be delivered well, as a buyer you walk away.
It doesn't matter if you are buying a house, a car, or a key lime cookie. You simply expect it to work.
2. Delivered on time
We want what we want when we want it. The moment it becomes clear that something isn't going to be delivered in a reasonable (or promised) amount of time, we start getting annoyed. And annoyed people don't make for happy customers.
3. Delivered by people who are nice to us
This one should be obvious, but apparently it isn't. Think of your own experiences over the last several times you have been the customer. How many of those did you walk away from thinking the sales person just wasn't friendly? Isn't that the stereotypical complaint people have at fast food drive-thrus (except for Chick-fil-A, who seems to have really gotten this right)? And how many negative encounters does it take before we just decide it isn't worth our time or money to ever go back there again?
You may be thinking, "Gee, that sounds ridiculously simple." Maybe you were expecting something a little more profound, but it seems that it's the simple little things in life that end up making the most profound differences. Here's how Mr. Schultze breaks it down:
When #3 is done well, it will compensate for the times when #1 and #2 don't go according to plan.
Done well over time, it moves people from simply being satisfied to being loyal.