What a name tag backing has to do with customer service

I peeled off my name tag and crumpled up the backing. Riley noticed the paper in my hand and asked if she could throw it away.  Such a small thing, but her attention to detail left an impression on me.

satisfaction surveyGreat customer service is all about the small details and anticipating needs. Riley Matson, the Membership Services Coordinator at the World Trade Center (WTC) in Seattle, is a master at anticipating needs. I hold client meetings and trainings at the WTC on a regular basis and I’ve always been impressed by her customer service skills.

Recently, I had a client coaching session in the morning and another in the afternoon. I planned to stay at the WTC and have lunch in their lovely dining room between clients. When I arrived that morning for my first client session Riley warmly greeted me, as she always does. I mentioned I was planning to have lunch in the dining room after my first client. She said she had a reservation for me already set up. It’s possible that I had mentioned I was going to have lunch there when I set up the client meetings but I didn’t remember doing so. Either way, without asking, Riley took the initiative to make sure a table – with a view I might add – was ready for me.  I felt very well taken care of.

When I teach customer service skills I talk about the importance of anticipating needs, not just meeting needs. When you anticipate your customer’s needs you focus on how you can make the customer experience even better. This requires being attuned to people. Let’s say you are a bank branch employee and you notice a customer approaching the branch has a cast on his leg and is using crutches. Could you open the door for him and offer to have someone transact his business at a desk with a chair? Maybe you could provide some self-addressed envelopes so he could deposit future checks by mail while his leg heals.

It doesn’t take much to wow a customer. Having someone notice the name tag backing in my hand wasn’t difficult to do, but it made me feel special, which makes me love the World Trade Center even more. When a customer is happy your business will flourish. And that’s what it’s all about.

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