By Shep Hyken
I’m often asked what the best way to disrupt the competition is.
The answer is to not compare yourself to the competition, but to the best companies from other industries.
In my customer service speeches, I’ll sometimes ask the audience to share who their favorite and easiest companies are to do business with. The typical answers are Amazon, Zappos, Walmart and other recognizable brands. Once in a while, an audience member will mention a local business. Sometimes it’s a restaurant or a car dealership. It really doesn’t matter whether you know the company well or not. It’s the fact that the company offers an excellent experience—one from which we might be able to learn.
One of our subscribers, Heidi Reslow, shared an experience she had with Grace Air Conditioning. This is a local company. She told me about her experience, and I am compelled to share it in her words. In a note to the company, she wrote the following:
“You all exceeded my expectations and I just have to say Thank You! I LOVED that the office called me this morning to tell me that Mark was on his way. I LOVED that he showed up on time. He was professional and personable. I LOVED that he was not rushed, answered my questions, and took the time to look at all of the vents, etc. in my home with me.”
There’s more, but you get the idea. Heidi was VERY happy and LOVED doing business with them. So, what can we learn?
She loved that the office called her when the repairman was on his way. That’s proactive communication. Customers love to be informed.
She loved that he showed up on time, which builds confidence and enhances credibility. Showing up on time is another way of proving you do what you say you’ll do.
She loved not feeling rushed when she had questions. Customers know when you rush them through a process or transaction. It makes them feel unappreciated—and in some cases, more like a number than a person. Slow down. Build a relationship. Build trust.
So, those are three lessons: practicing proactive communication, doing what you say you will do and focusing on the relationship with a little extra time rather than rushing through the experience. If you dig deeper, you’ll find there’s even more we can learn from this great experience. The point is that we can learn from all types of companies, not just the iconic brands.