Like most people, we have four major appliances in our kitchen. For the past few years, two of the four have been an in-house brand name from a particular national retailer. We just replaced the third (a refrigerator) from the same company. When we replace the fourth, we will buy from someone else. The reason? Poor service.
Compared to all the problems of the world, this is not a big deal, but this purchase has reminded me that good service must be intentional. It does not happen by accident. Many of us are involved in providing a product to someone else. This may be training, coaching, consulting, instruction, or something similar. My negative experience with this retailer has reminded me that there are several aspects to being a good service provider.
First, provide a good product. No matter how good your service is, what you deliver must be something of quality that endures. Whether a refrigerator or a course on coaching, what we deliver to the customer must be something worthwhile.
Second, make the buying experience pleasant. People desire to be treated with respect and have their time honored. When I make you jump through unnecessary hoops, I am wasting your time. I have no right to disrespect you in that way.
Third, don't promise more than you can provide. If you say that you are going to respond in a certain time period or deliver on a certain date, do it. It is better to under promise and over perform than vice versa.
Fourth, follow through on what you promise. When you say you will do something, plan to do it or be ready to explain the extraordinary circumstances that made you fail to deliver on your promise. The sad thing is that we have become so accustomed to people not following through that we are delighted when they do.
Perhaps you have had similar experiences and I hope they encourage you to ask the question, “What kind of service am I providing?”