Thursday, March 13, 2014

Why Bother Giving Great Service?

Image courtesy of gordon2208
What's it all about? Why is it so important to give great service?

Can you believe this is a question that some people still ask? I can't. But the good news is, it presents an opportunity for me to write a blog post to help convey the message about delivering great service and, ultimately a great overall experience.

A couple weeks ago, I picked up a copy of Zingerman's Guide to Giving Great Service. Zingerman's is short for Zingerman's Community of Businesses, a collection of eight different (specialty food) business units in the Ann Arbor, MI, area. They are known as much for the quality of their foods as they are for the quality of their customer service. The book has a ton of valuable teachings, but I loved the section on "why we give great service." The following is a recap of the eight reasons they give to answer that question.

1. Great service makes us something special. Ultimately, great service, going the extra mile, and leaving a lasting impression are huge differentiators in a sea of sameness.

2. Great service is sound marketing. When you deliver great customer service, your customers will talk about you. Word of mouth marketing is the best kind of marketing.

3. Good service keeps customers coming back. Customers love good service! And they'll come back for more of it.

4. It yields better bottom-line results. The book states the following linkages: increased sales, repeat business, reduced errors and waste, and reduces the number of problems and the time spent fixing problems, to name a few.

5. It makes for a better place to work. When you're doing great things for your customers, it lifts everyone's spirits. Courtesy, friendliness, and a focus on giving are all infectious.

6. It helps you attract better people to work with you. Having a reputation as a fun place to work and as a place that cares about its customers is also infectious. "Good people want to work in a good place."

7. It's easier. It's easier to do things well and make things right for the customer than to fight it or to allow a mess to happen that needs to be cleaned up later.

8. It's the right thing to do. Plain and simple.

I love how those align with what I've written about a few times in the past, as I've described what your raving fans will do for you. And if you consistently deliver a great experience, you will have raving fans! They...
  • Are less price sensitive
  • Will pay a premium for a better experience
  • Stay longer, spend more, churn less
  • Expand their purchases/relationships to other/new products or services you offer
  • May overlook product shortcomings
  • Are more likely to forgive occasional/infrequent service shortcomings (just make it right, though!)
  • Cost less (e.g., marketing, advertising, promotions)
  • Have fewer complaints
  • Provide feedback and want to help you improve and succeed
  • Become technical support for you by helping other customers (answer questions, solve problems)
  • Will evangelize the brand for you
In an upcoming post, I'll answer the question, "Why is great service hard to find?" - also from the book.

People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. -John C. Maxwell


  1. Nice review. I think it should also be said that this mentality applies to all career types. If you strive to be good at your job and help others, you will be very valuable.

    1. Andy, great point. Because "it's the right thing to do."

      Annette :-)

  2. Annette,
    Thank you. It's too easy to assume that everyone accepts that delivering great service is a worthy cause. However, until we get to the point that that is the norm, stating the case for and the expected results from delivering great are worth repeating regularly.


    1. Agree. I don't think we can share this message too much.

      Annette :-)

  3. Fantastic list Annette,

    I watched an interesting TED talk which mad the point that money doesn't make you happy but how you spend it does. If you give it away helping others it will make you feel good.

    In many ways giving away great customer service is a very similar thing.


    1. Thanks for sharing that TED talk; great talk, great points to be made. And yes, giving great service is very similar.

      Annette :-)

  4. Awesome post, Annette!

    For those who are interested, here is a clip on "Why Great Service is Hard to Find" from the Zingerman's DVD 3 Steps to Great Service (we use this in employee training):

    I love these videos!

    1. Thanks, Marybeth. And thanks for sharing the video. Didn't realize they were out there. Great addition!

      Annette :-)