Reframing the Meaning of Service

“It was going to be a fantastic trip to Disneyworld,” said my friend, Bob Parsons at the Washington Speakers Bureau.  “We go every year and this year we were getting to make the 13 hour drive.  The car was packed, the family was loaded, and we were all about ready to start singing, ‘M-I-C-K-E-Y.’”

But, there was no pixie dust under the hood of the Parsons family car that afternoon.  The car refused to start.  And, it was approaching 5pm—closing time for Safford Auto in Warrenton, VA where the car is serviced.

“I called Safford Auto,” Bob continued as he acted out the dialogue. “I know you folks are about to close at Safford, but here is my situation.” Bob added more phone dialogue to his story.  “We can get the car started with jumper cables from our other car, but the battery will need to be replaced.”  The Safford Auto guy told Bob, “Bring it on by.  We’ve got a mechanic here who says he’ll wait for you.”

But, the travel demons moved from Bob’s hood to the interstate as the 5 o’clock traffic snarl made the trip to the mechanic take way longer than expected.  A quick call to Safford assured the Parsons that the mechanic was still there and would continue to wait.

After the repair was completed and the Parsons family was ready to resume their trip to Disney, Bob asked the mechanic who was now locking the front door: “Why did you decide to wait?”  There was no vision-quoting “We are dedicated to giving you world class…”  There was no chest-beating “Safford is #1 in customer satisfaction.”  Just a simple, straight from the heart…”You sounded like you needed help!”  It was what a neighbor would say to another neighbor!

Are you serving your customers like a neighbor?  If you asked your customers a version of the Bob Parsons question: “Why do you decide to serve?” what would they tell you?

About Chip&John

Chip R. Bell and John R. Patterson are customer loyalty consultants and the authors of several best-selling books. Their newest book is "Wired and Dangerous: How Your Customers Have Changed and What to do About it."
This entry was posted in Customer Experience, Customer Loyalty, Great Service is ..., Service Stories, Wired and Dangerous and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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