Providing Service Coveralls

It was a very nasty operation.  An unfortunate raccoon crawled under our river house, got hung up in the wires supporting the air conditioning duct work, and expired.  Since the weekend getaway is frequented only periodically, by the time we returned, the house was reeking with a very bad odor.  It was my job to crawl under the house, remove the carcass, and dispose of it.  And, I was very grateful to have coveralls, gloves, hat and a surgical mask to don to carry out the chore.

Customer service can have a not-so-nice side.  Maybe not as “smelly” as a dead raccoon under the kitchen, but certainly uncomfortable to customers.  Being captive in a queue, returning ordered items that disappoint, completing lengthy forms, dealing with a slow-as-molasses clerk when you are in a hurry, hunting for a parking place at a popular restaurant–you can quickly generate your own list of not-so-nice customer experiences.

The key is providing the customer with “service coveralls”—helpful tools, processes, practices—that help them cope with the nasties.  Bob Miller of First Watch Restaurant in Kansas City provides a large container of umbrellas at the front door with the sign, “Need an umbrella, please take one; return it for a free cup of coffee!”  That’s a service coverall.  What service coveralls can you provide to help your customers deal with unpleasantries associated with your service?


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."
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