Going The Extra Mile for Customers

I'm getting back to more regular posts - this one is sent in on the road from St. Louis -

I enjoyed reading Gwynne Young's comments in an email from her at CRM Guru on a subject near and dear to many of us in the sales professions - customer service:

Customer-Centricity Isn't Rocket Science

Years ago, a local TV station got my goat. I was a fan of the syndicated movie review show, Siskel and Ebert, but the station pre-empted it seemingly willy-nilly. I'd tune in at the appointed time and sometimes get baseball, sometimes get an infomercial and sometimes get Siskel and Ebert. I called the station and was told, "Yes, we know Siskel and Ebert has devoted fans, and that's why we run it late at night when we preempt it."

A lot of good that did. The station never publicized the new time. And, for good reason: The new time was often the night before the scheduled time. By the time you'd tuned in, you'd missed it.

So I was particularly pleased when another station picked up the show a few seasons later.

Do you know what the new station did? When it was going to pre-empt Siskel and Ebert, it ran a crawl at the bottom of the screen the week before the preemption, telling viewers when we could catch that edition of the show.

It wasn't rocket science. It was just good customer relations. And what better way to tell TV viewers that a show would be moved but on TV? Wow! What a concept! I like to think that the old station got its comeuppance when NBC dropped it as a network affiliate a few years later. The lesson, I think, is that you don't have to look far to find tools that allow you to go the extra mile for your customers.

In upcoming posts I'll be sharing some true-life customer service amazing feats as well as service nightmares, and encourage you to post yours here as well. What company epitomizes top-notch customer service? Who is the signature company for poor service, and why?