Once again, Seth Godin got me thinking with his "How much extra for nice?" post. He surmises there's a huge gap between what people are willing to pay for nice (a lot) and what it would cost businesses to deliver it (almost nothing).
True - nice is free. And yet not so easy to come by, especially when it comes to customer service - so when I see the two come together at the same time, I take notice.
I was in large framing store recently and when I walked in the only customer service person I saw was helping a woman with a custom framing order. I just wanted to buy a pre-made frame but the custom framing order was taking a while. It was starting to seem obvious (to me at least) that a "let me just ring up this other customer and I'll be right back" was in order, but it wasn't happening. Then he started to say measurements back to himself so I knew if I interrupted, even politely for a simple transaction, it might mess up his train of thought. So I walked around the store looking for someone else who worked there. I found no one (and it's a big store). The cherry on top? While I was walking around looking for someone to help me another customer came in to pick up her artwork putting herself next in line.
If you're picking up on the fact that I'm impatient, you would be right, but seeing as I had no other option - and I could tell the customer service guy was being pleasant - I waited (and waited). And when it was my turn, I was met with the same helpful and friendly service as the previous two customers had received. I saw several items on sale and asked if the frame I selected was one of them. The customer service guy said it wasn't, but he gave me a discount for a sale that was starting the next day. He also recommended better hooks than those that came with the frame - and when he saw that the screws that came with the hooks were too big for my frame he went and found two screws to fit - which he gave me for free.
Would I have preferred that the store were better staffed? Yes, but I can stand to be more patient, and at the end of it all I walked away a happy customer...
Recommended hooks: $4.99
Being helped by a nice customer service person: Priceless