Today’s post is by Lynn Mandinec, the business manager at Ryan Estis & Associates. She’s worked with Ryan for more than 20 years and helps match clients with the right high-impact event and training experiences.
Most companies say they deliver exceptional customer service. It’s probably even tucked somewhere within their mission statement.
Ryan and I worked together in a past life. We worked for a company that did about the same thing our competitors did – for about the same price. Back then, as the economy started to slip into the Great Recession, the idea was to gain a competitive advantage by the only foreseeable differentiator: service. We got a form (The leadership loved forms!). We were required to provide “above and beyond expectation” to five customers each week. Never mind that we talked to well over 40 customers per week. Our goal was five.
Today, our business revolves around service. It’s something we talk about every single day at Ryan Estis & Associates. It’s a topic that is woven into every keynote speech we give and is taught during each training session. We call it the “How Advantage” and it is magnified when you provide a product or service without much differentiation. And don’t most of us?
I recently got to see it in action. Ryan was speaking in Minneapolis, our home town.The keynote that day, “Release Your Inner Superhero,” explored how each of us is a Chief Experience Officer. We all have a choice in how we relate to those in our lives: our customers, co-workers, family and friends.
I left inspired and determined to continue being remarkable – in my professional life and my personal life. I hopped in my car, turned on the radio and worked my way out of the parking garage at the Hyatt in downtown. As I pulled up to the exit I noticed there was no teller to pay but rather a machine that accepted only credit cards. I had switched purses that morning and had grabbed a wallet with only cash. I had no credit cards. And I had no teller to explain my plight and bail me out.
It turns out I had Chris. Chris worked for Minneapolis Parking and just so happened to be performing maintenance on the other pay machine. He came right over and calmly said “come with me.” He escorted me to an entrance that housed a machine that would accept cash for my ticket stub. He took my ticket, my money and handed me back the receipt along with a smile. He then walked me back to my car and continued to work on the broken pay machine.
Chris gets it. He could have simply told me where the cash pay machine was. Or ignored me. But he gets that customers listen to their peer recommendations more often than advertising. He gets that providing exceptional customer service is a true competitive advantage. He’s a Chief Experience Officer.
Ryan Estis is a Keynote Speaker & Management Consultant blogging about business performance.