Here’s to a Great New Year!
What’s Your Plan for 2018 & How Will You Provide Top Customer Service?
by Jack Guarnieri, Jersey Jack Pinball & PinballSales.com
How can it possibly be December already? “Anonymous,” that great philosopher, said: “Life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer you get to the end, the faster it goes.”
As busy people, we find that days and months pass quickly and, yes, December is here again! Before you know it, spring will be here, too, though I had the good fortune to travel to Australia recently and got to enjoy their spring during our autumn.
Travel gets you thinking and learning many new things that you can’t otherwise: experiencing different weather and seasons, food, and language. Funny, I thought they spoke English in Australia, but I had a hard time understanding some words that had a different meaning!
So, what’s your plan for 2018? Wait until we get there and see which direction to go? Or will you purposefully chart a course for success? Sometimes January brings resolutions to do things that haven’t been done before and get the year off to what we hope is the right start.
Not everything can be certain or planned for. Those in traditional retail, waiting for customers to enter their store and shop, have been gradually changing their model. The store comes to the customers in more cases today thanks to the Internet.
Different generations of consumers expect different levels of service and delivery, as well as satisfaction. Some of that is directly related to the money they spend on an item.
Think about what product you are delivering. Think about the value you bring to your customer and the experience the customer has when they use your product or service. Everything revolves around the customer experience and some customers can have very high expectations. Are you meeting them? Could you do better?
A friend of mine, who owns a business in another industry, was telling me recently that he no longer wants to sell to the high-end, demanding customer. He says his business and products require his employees to be perfect and therefore, when it comes to the very demanding customer, the end result will inevitably be disappointment.
He’s trying to decide if he should only focus on this high-end customer, raising his price by 25% and ensuring his company is staffed with only detail-minded employees, or abandon that market, instead focusing on the lower-end customer who seems satisfied with what his company does.
I don’t have an easy answer for him. Complicating matters is that he’s in a business that involves people’s health where a mistake can be fatal. It’s high stakes and high pressure, and when employees are not focused, mistakes happen that cannot be erased.
Thankfully, mistakes in our industry are not at that level! Creating customer satisfaction when there’s been a less-than-perfect experience is often fixed by offering another soft drink or hot dog, another plush bear, or another game card. That kind of response usually does the trick.
Life is short and your customers are not typically doing business with you because they’re planning to complain about your product or services. They just want what they paid for and perhaps a little bit more.
When you do encounter a customer with a complaint, my advice is to always try to put yourself in their shoes and see it from their side. You’ll usually find their complaints to be valid to some degree. Have an open mind and treat every customer with respect. You’ll never win an argument with a customer –– and perhaps you will never satisfy every customer –– but you can build an organization that strives for perfection and total customer satisfaction. It’s a goal, a target, something to aim for and your business will be the better for it.
My very best wishes to you and your families for a happy and healthy 2018. See you next year!
Jack Guarnieri started servicing electro-mechanical pinball machines in 1975 and has been involved in every phase of the amusement game business since then. He was an operator in NYC, then began a distributorship in 1999, PinballSales.com, selling coin-op to the consumer market. In January of 2011 he founded Jersey Jack Pinball (named after his RePlay Magazine pen name), which builds award-winning, full-featured, coin-op pinball machines. Email Jack at jack@ jerseyjackpinball.com.