Key to Great Customer Service: Following Through

Written by: Denise

Customer service

I’ve worked in some sort of customer service position for most of my working career and at an early age, I learned from a master one important rule.

Connecting with the customer and doing what you say you are going to do is the most important life lesson.

I have come to realize that people I can connect with are likely to gain my trust and business. I tend to be over-critical of others who interact with the public because I expect customer service people to be the best. After-all, it’s their job to serve others.

Perhaps I’m that way because I work for a company that focuses on extreme customer service and satisfaction.

Recent experience

For the past several years, my husband and I have planned to update our house. Truth be told, I’ve been planning and he’s just been listening to me talk … for years. My long list of projects includes updating the inside of the house and replacing our television. The TV was my husband’s idea … the rest was all mine!

For the most part, we are DIY people. My husband is a jack of many trades and meticulous about EVERYTHING he does! If something needs fixing, my husband fixes it. If we need to landscape, we do that together. If the cars need attention, he is very mechanical and takes good care of us.

Realizing the house renovation plans were going to take longer than I really wanted to put into it, I decided to broach the initial topic of contracting a painter. He was less than agreeable. He couldn’t understand why we would pay someone else to do a task we are more than capable of doing. I gave him all the reasons we needed to hire someone and he gave me all the reasons we didn’t need to.

While he was away for the weekend, I decided to bite the bullet. I announced I wanted to hire a professional to repaint our house. He was … irritated. Why should we hire someone to do something we can do ourselves, he said. My response was simple, because we don’t have time and I’m a rotten painter!

After pointing out the spillage on the wood trim from the last time I got tried to paint the walls (which he is still irritated about), he conceded. We talked about the recommendations from a couple we knew at church. They hired this person and have recommended her multiple times. That was enough for me. I announced I was going to call Tina and have her give us an estimate.

I’ve never hired a general contractor before and really didn’t know what to look for, but I was determined to make the best decisions. I asked friends what to ask. I consulted with my husband about what was important to him. We agreed the person needed to come with high recommendations; they needed to be trustworthy because we would not be home while they did their work. We wanted an outline of the plan and wanted daily communication. And, the person needed to like dogs because we had two and they would be in the house while the painter was working.

All the same criteria, I suppose, our customers use to hire movers to take them from one destination to another. I made contact with the painter and we scheduled the initial appointment.

Promptly at 9:00 a.m. on a blustery, winter day, this bright-eyed woman arrived right on schedule. We chatted about our mutual acquaintance then went right to work. We spent two hours walking through the house. We talked about our plans to purchase the carpet and furniture. We developed a plan to color coordinate the entire house with pleasant, neutral paint that came from the same pallet (another thing I’m not very good at). I took notes as did she. After a quick conversation with my husband, we agreed to move forward.

With 13 gallons of paint ready to go, Tina started. She said 6-8 days to complete the whole project. As we agreed, she started in the kitchen, then went into the living room and dining room. The next day, she went down the hall, into the guest bedrooms and guest bathroom, then lastly the master bedroom and bath. Each night, we would arrive home to see the excellent craftsmanship. No paint on the floor or on the woodwork. No streaks on the walls – just a house taking shape.

Each morning, I would write a note to Tina asking a variety of questions. We would “chat” through our notes and would decide which room to prep next and that next evening was done.

As she painted, we watched our house transform into the vision she and I created on that blustery, winter day. She did just what she said she would. Her price was less then she quoted. She left no mess for me to clean up and she was done in seven days – just as she said.

As I look back on this phase of the project, I don’t know why we waited so long to select a professional to do something I don’t enjoy doing.

And, I liked her because she did just what she said she would.

What aspects of customer service do you find most important? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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