Let me share some recent interactions I’ve had with various service providers…
“Thanks for taking care of this issue.” – “No problem.”
“Would you please bring us a child’s menu?” – “No problem.”
“Will you see if you have this in my size?” – “No problem.”
All three are reasonable responses. All three indicate that what I want will be addressed. All three made me feel that I was receiving some very adequate service. Contrast that with my lunch order at one of my favorite bakery/sandwich shops…
“Oh, will you change that to Dakota bread – and hold the onions?” – “My pleasure.”
Again, a reasonable response, one that tells me my request will be met and a response that made me realize that Joann really cared.
“No problem” is widely used and accepted. There is nothing wrong with that phrase. You may wonder what the big difference is with hearing “My pleasure” instead. It’s simple –
“No problem” indicates that the request is not an inconvenience to the server.
“My pleasure” indicates that the server is pleased to be assisting the customer.
It’s the attitude and perspective – not the words per se – that elevate a customer’s experience. Paying attention to the seemingly little things are what will differentiate you and your company from your competition.
Make no mistake – a terrific customer experience must begin with the quality of the product or service they’re seeking. Simply saying ‘my pleasure’ then serving an awful sandwich does nothing to elevate a customer’s experience. I recently wrote about how delivering hot, fresh breadsticks can create great value – and elevate customer experience – at Olive Garden. (read here)
Here are two more examples of effectively elevating a customer’s experience through what I call the ‘tiny touches’…
Last year I had the opportunity to stay at Casa Columbo – a magnificent boutique hotel in Sri Lanka. Our room was amazing – except for the intrusive noise being made by a malfunctioning fan. The solution was to move us to a different room – a real chore as we’d already unpacked. We were assured the hotel staff would handle it while we were at dinner. Having been moved by hotels before I was very wary. However, after we ate, walking into our ‘new room’ was a real eye-opener. Every single item had been moved and placed in the exact same position they had been all the way to the placement of my book and glasses on the night stand. A quality hotel and a magnificent staff (thanks Galan) afforded us a phenomenal experience.
One of my favorite restaurants in the world is The Crossing in St. Louis. The atmosphere is just right, the food is always superb (as is the wine I’m told :)). With those attributes in a restaurant it’s hard to be disappointed. But what really elevates my experience as a customer are the people. They pay attention to the little things. Our favorite waiter, Douglas, combines the right amount of interaction with a keen understanding of how to deliver amazing service.
Embrace these three points and you will deliver phenomenal customer experience
- Delivering great customer experience requires that you start with attention to quality
- Elevating customer experiences is not just easy, it doesn’t add to cost – pay attention to the little things
- Remember to place your focus on the customer
Let me hear about your customer experiences – whether good or bad – by leaving a comment. Also, let me know if you have any questions about Casa Columbo, The Crossing or my little sandwich shop – answering them would be “My pleasure!”.
it was My Pleasure to read this Bill. No Problem is not part of my staff’s vocabulary because not only are there two negative words strung together, but I agree that it is a lower level of customer service.
I had an employee state that My Pleasure sounded cheesy and I asked her what she could say as an option. She came up with – Of course, I’d be happy too, and Yes! Win Win for everyone!
What a great line your employee came up with Barbara – it’s right on target in making the CUSTOMER the focus.
Thanks for sharing your insights and experience – helps explain why yours is such a successful business.
Bill, love it, love it, love it!! I just went through a rant (if you will) on this very topic last week in chatting with my wife. Sure it doesn’t seem like that big a deal and frankly I believe those that use this term in responding feel like this is a perfectly acceptable reply – and maybe it is for those who may not value the customer experience the way we do. I was going to pen a piece on this but you beat me to it and captured the essence perfectly. Can’t wait to share!
Very kind of you Gary. Again, I don’t see it as a ‘wrong’ reply – rather an opportunity to have more impact with a different phrase. I thought of your commitment to the restaurant with the amazing waitress – another terrific example of ‘elevating customer service’. I’d be honored for you to share this piece. Thank you sir.
Sometimes the simplest concepts have the biggest impact. Another great post Bill.
Thank you Doug! Lots of little things added together can have huge impact. 🙂