Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water
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In business clients have many choices. They can patronize establishments that consistently recognize them, treat them with respect and value their patronage. Some people like to know they are paying the lowest prices for everything they buy, without regard to quality. The service aspect is less important to these folks. Utilitarian objects are valuable if they last, require little care, and are simple to operate. Environments in which people spend time like stores, salons, restaurants, hotels, or spas, are delivering a designed experience beyond the consumer goods they offer for sale. They offer a feeling of being important and unique. I believe the difference between average service and stellar service is attention to the importance of the customer’s special preferences. This might sound basic, but think about times when you feel happy because everything is just the way you like it to be. When services are applied with a broad brush, one size fits all, the result is rarely satisfying to the recipient. Some minor as well as major attention must be paid to how the customer likes to proceed in order to create a service that customer will value highly.
I like to know that my service providers of all kinds are professional. I can tell right off the bat because showing up on time is the first way to impress me that my business is center of attention. Manners matter. Punctuality, as well as finishing on target, are part of the customer service tool kit. I remember those providers who make me wait without a call or explanation of the tardiness. They do not get invited to return to my house. On the other hand once I find a professional, punctual, polite provider my loyalty is fierce. I don’t shop around for lower prices when I am pleased with the services I receive. I will happily pay a little extra to know that my job will be done with pride.
When I need to call on a warranty for a service or product I am always impressed if that repair or replacement is done quickly and well. I sent back a Bunn coffee maker three times while under warranty. I now have that third model for years, working perfectly. I was very pleased when they sent me new ones without hesitation along with a Fedex prepaid voucher to send the broken one back for investigation. I will probably be a Bunn customer for life both for the product quality and the customer relationship. I feel the same way about my health club, my contractor, mechanic, and massage therapists. As a consumer I am particular, but not hard to please. Once I have found a match that works well for me I stick with it. What kind of customer are you, gentle reader? Are you more loyal or adventurous?
In December we decided to purchase a new bed. It became obvious that our old one was drooping and giving us less that the perfect night’s sleep. The large purchase was our holiday shopping splurge for the whole family and for the whole season. We stretched a little beyond our comfort zone on price because we found a mattress we both agreed was dreamy. Our sales associate was a perfect mixture of helpful and laid back. She handed us both pillows and directed us to the part of the store with the products we wanted to try. Mattress Firm represents several different brands, including Sealy and Tempurpedic. We both settled on a Sealy wanna be Tempurpedic, and to be honest the lower price point did factor into our decision. A delivery date was set for before New Year’s Eve, and we left the store very happy and satisfied that we had made a purchase that would enhance our sleep and therefore our whole lives. We feel great about the product now that we finally have it.
After waiting for my delivery, promised in a 3 hour window, I called to learn that not only my bed was missing from that day’s delivery schedule, but my mattress was not even in stock. I flipped my lid, verbally and otherwise. My sales associate, Tamara Flores, called my home on her day off to explain that the bed we ordered was not available although the warehouse had confirmed the delivery just the previous day. They had made a mistake and now could not bring us a bed for another 10 days. When that date approached Tamara had already talked her manager into offering us a higher quality mattress to make up for the unprofessional mistakes. Again she was forced to tell me all of the inventory was not in the warehouse, but she sent the upgraded Tempurpedic mattress with two temporary bases. The bases were back ordered, but the company agreed to replace the loaner bases when ours arrived. This new bed arrived, but did not fit the frame at all. We started sleeping on it and knew it was worth the wait, but we still needed to deal with the frame fit. A home visit from the delivery team confirmed that I needed a different frame. That change was made quickly and easily by ordering the correct size from Amazon and moving the bolts in the headboard ourselves. This was inexpensive as well as pretty easy to do. We started sleeping like babies.
Mattress Firm called me with a customer service survey. I let them know the individual employees are working hard and doing a professional job. The problems we encountered were the result of systems within the company that don’t seem to be working well. The sales staff that takes care of a customer can turn the nightmare unsatisfied buyer that I was into a happy return consumer. I threatened to disrespect Mattress Firm publicly in no uncertain terms, and now I am inclined to send my friends to Tamara for the best customer service ever. Her diligence as well as the professionalism of the delivery crew saved the day in my case. A good sales associate might represent the company for whom they work, but their loyal service honestly belongs to the people who buy the products. The sales person who goes the extra mile and follows up to find out if the buyer is happy will build a reputation for pleasing customers. I enthusiastically endorse Ms. Flores as one such exceptional employee. If you are listening, Mattress Firm, give this woman a big fat bonus for avoiding what I had planned to say about your company. She averted a potentially nasty problem….my anger. Now when I lay me down to sleep I trust Tamara my sale to keep. She did a great job, and I am sleeping very well.
This song has been going around in my head as I focus on my goal for 2013. I plan to convince Tony Hseih that Floatli is the perfect official company sport of Zappos, so he will want to market it with me. Normally they take already developed products being sold elsewhere and market them. I want the Zapsters to partner me to refine and package it to perfection with me as well. What I can offer is an international trademark on the name Floatli, my expertise, and a fun versatile product that works for sports as well as therapy and training. It is a perfect match for Lake Mead, or the inevitable pool for employees downtown that will be in the future. When I visited them I was really happy to know they can pull off such a pure and direct match between the core values and the results. Floatli also works from the core, and is fun. I came within a few yards of Tony as I was leaving in my Zappos shuttle back to Vegas. I had a giant urge to blurt out my intentions, but I thought better of it. Now I have thought about it, and I am clear. I want to Zap, and believe I can convince the Zappsters of the merit of Zapping with Floatli. We will work this from the ground up, starting with the most important of all things, shoes. Once I know which shoes to wear, then I will enumerate the core values and how we align perfectly, fluidly, and even geographically. Yo, Tony, I am going to convince you, and you will like it. I want to Zap with you for the benefit of ALL the sentient beings. Resistance may not be futile, but Floatli is a lot more fun (one of our mutual core values).