“Choose to give amazing service to your customers. You’ll stand out because they don’t get it anywhere else.” ~ Kevin Stirtz
Over the weekend I was reading a book about customer service penned by a former director of Walt Disney World, Lee Cockrell. Mr. Cockrell told that when he first went to work for Disney in Orlando, he wrote a story about the Rogers family and what he envisioned to be a world-class vacation at Disney World and all of the world-class service they encountered. He shared his story with his staff members so they would have a clear picture of what kind of service they should be giving to each and every customer. This sounded like a terrific idea, so I thought why not do the same thing for that day when the Rogers family needed to rent storage? After all, our goal is the same as the Disney goal and that is to give customers such a memorable experience that they will want to come back. But I hope you will apply this same principle to whatever service oriented business you are in. The concept is the same. By writing a script and sharing it with your people, they will know what world-class customer service looks like in your industry.
As they drove into the parking lot of the self storage facility they had driven by numerous times, they were struck by how clean and neat this storefront was compared to the store they just left. The landscape was simple but inviting, the lawn was freshly mowed, there was not a piece of trash to be found and you could actually see clearly marked parking stripes. As they approached the front door, Mrs. Rogers was quick to notice how clean the windows were. The signs in the window were professional looking, not a curled up piece of paper from the office printer taped to the glass.
The store manager had seen them drive up and when they entered the office Mr. & Mrs. Rogers were surprised to find the nice lady standing in front of the counter to greet them. At the last store they had just left, they had to wait for several minutes while the woman sitting behind the counter finished her cell phone call with her friend, but at least now they knew who got voted off the island last night. The store manager introduced herself with a warm smile and firm handshake. Again, unlike the lady at the last store they were at who wore a t-shirt advertising the local college, this store manager was very professionally dressed and well-groomed. Mrs. Rogers, ever conscious about her surroundings, quickly noticed the well-arranged display of moving supplies and made a mental note to ask about boxes.
At the last place they went, the store manager asked them what size unit they needed, but this store manager asked what they needed to store and after hearing what they listed suggested a size that would fit everything. The size suggested was smaller than they had thought they would need and would be a nice savings. The store manager also gave them some good tips on how to pack their unit to save space. The manager then suggested they go take a quick look at a couple of different sizes to make sure they would work, but first Mr. Rogers excused himself to the restroom. When he stepped inside the restroom, he thought, “Wow, she must have just cleaned in here.” The place was spotless. This was certainly not what he expected at a self storage facility.
When they went outside, there were expecting a long hike on the property but the store manager invited them onto the golf cart. There was a golf cart sitting outside the office of the first place they went, but it was loaded down with an array of locks, brooms and trash cans, so they both made the assumption that golf carts were not for customer use, but this golf cart was totally different. It had obviously been freshly washed. The floor covers had been Armoralled, and there was even a place for Mrs. Rogers to sit the water bottle the store manager had given her earlier.
When they had looked at a space at the other business, the grounds were riddled with cigarette butts, pieces of trash and Mr. Rogers even noticed a couple of nails and screws just looking for a tire to puncture. Here, the property was just as clean as everything else they had seen. It almost looked like the pavement had been vacuumed it was so clean. The manager wanted to show them a non-climate controlled space first and when they pulled up to the door, as she had been explaining the features of the property, she mentioned about the ease of being able to pull up to the door of a non-climate controlled space – something neither of them had considered. They also silently noted how clean the unit was. There were no cobwebs dangling from the door and there was a convenient rope hanging from the center of the door that even someone as vertically challenged as Mrs. Rogers could easily reach.
When they walked inside the climate controlled building, the first thing they noticed was how the floors had a mirror shine to them. The second thing they noticed was how comfortable it was inside. What the store manager told them had made perfect sense, rather than renting a 10×10 climate controlled space, which was really a little out of their budget, they could actually save a few dollars by renting a 5×10 climate controlled space for their photos, leather chairs and electronics, and rent a 5×10 non-climate space for their garden tools, clothes and boxes of household items. When they decided on the spaces they wanted to rent, they were surprised once again when the store manager pulled out 2 disc locks from under the back seat of the golf cart that were keyed-alike. She told them they only sold disc locks because they offered much more security than regular hasp locks. She removed the company locks from the units and the Roger’s placed their new disc locks on. Already the Rogers were feeling a sense of relief that they wouldn’t have to spend any more time looking for storage.
Filling out the rental agreements was painless as the store manager explained everything and gave knowledgeable answers to all of their questions. When they got to the end of the process, the store manager told them insurance would be required. At first, Mr. Rogers wanted to decline stating they had home-owners insurance that would cover it, but when the store manager explained that most home-owners policies do not cover stored items or if they do, they have a $1,000 deductible and then went on to explain that since they only intended to rent storage for a few months, if they did have a claim on their home-owners insurance, they would run the risk of having their premiums increased FOREVER, not just for the few months they had the storage. Now it all made sense.
Just as they were finishing up and the store manager was pulling all of the boxes they purchased, a man came in they had seen earlier mopping the hallway floors in one of the climate controlled buildings. As Mr. Rogers went to get the boxes they had purchased, the man said, “Oh no sir, allow me” and carried the boxes out to their car.
As Mr. & Mrs. Rogers drove away with big smiles on their faces, they began discussing the experience and how much different it was from their previous experience. As Mr. Rogers was telling his wife about how clean the restroom was, she exclaimed, “It’s been so long since I’ve seen it, I almost forgot what great customer service felt like. Who would have ever thought I would find it at a self-storage facility?”
Approach every day as though you are a Broadway actor about to give the performance of your life, then view the customer as your audience. What do they want to see from the moment they pull into your parking lot until they drive away? What information do you need to give them and how should it be delivered? Make the customer experience “world class” so that at the end of your performance, they give you a standing ovation and will be anxious to tell others about the wonderful experience they had with you.