This evening, looking for a place to buy some mailing envelopes, I dropped into a Postal Annex mailing service near my home that I had never patronized before. As I approached the door, being sensitive to the fact that it was late, I immediately saw that the store hours clearly indicated that they had been closed for 30 minutes.
As I turned to leave, someone inside the store hastened to unlock the door. I assumed at the time that he was going to apologize and explain that they were closed (the typical "courteous" response to such a situation). To my surprise (and delight), he immediately, said, "Yes, we're closed, but please come on in!"
Too often, those who are in a position to render a service directly to customers, mistakenly believe that the quality of "customer service" is measured by the degree to which their service is courteous, kind, and respectful. However, that perspective leaves out the most important part of the equation: how well the service meets the immediate needs of the customer or prospective customer.
In the case of my Postal Annex operator, he decided in a split second that my need to find envelopes trumped his need to go home on time. Certainly, Dan could have simply offered his apologies, or gone a step further and directed me to the closest place I might find what I needed. But instead, his desire to provide an amazing customer experience led him to impress the heck out of me by delivering exceptional service in meeting my immediate needs.
Creating an amazing customer experience should be every business owner's, manager's, supervisor's, and employee's prime directive. When accomplished, it provides profitability, goal accomplishment, intrinsic value, financial rewards, and personal gratification. In the process of knocking customer satisfaction out of the park, it also increases job satisfaction.
So, the next time you consider walking out the door at quitting time with a client's urgent project unfinished, or turning your back on a customer who shows up inconveniently at closing time, or ignoring that call that comes after hours, consider the incredible rewards you're missing out on, and the lost opportunity to blow someone away!