Let’s travel back in time to the 1970s, when McDonald’s was promoting one of their best selling food items, the Big Mac, through a very successful advertising campaign. It was so successful that many baby boomers can still repeat the jingle today.
“2 all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.”
It got everyone wondering. What was the special sauce? Well if you didn’t know, we’ll let you in on a little secret. It was a type of Thousand Island dressing. Nothing fancy. But it made the customers feel unique that they were getting something special on their hamburger that no other fast-food chain was providing. A Special Sauce. And that is what Customer Service is. Providing your customers with something that makes you stand out from your competition.
From the store that offers a free cup of coffee while you browse to the employee who goes out of their way to help you find an item in a store. It’s all about two simple words that pack a lot of punch – Customer Service. And what makes Customer Service great is that it usually doesn’t cost anything. Plus, it keeps customers satisfied and loyal.
Here are some examples of how local businesses have created their own “Special Sauce” to make themselves stand out.
The Dry Cleaner Because dry cleaners are in the service industry it is imperative for customer service to be an important part of what they offer. The dry cleaner I frequent is managed by a gentleman who understands the power of the “little things.” I am always greeted with “Good morning Mrs. McCrary.” But it goes beyond that. This particular dry cleaner lost a pair of my slacks and he immediately apologized and told me he would pay for a replacement pair. While it would have been easier to offer some free services for the loss, this manager saw the potential in truly correcting a wrong – and in return, earned me as a customer for the long term.
The Auto Dealer There are so many car dealerships locations in West Michigan, that loyalty is hard to come by. One inventive West Michigan dealer has taken customer service to a completely new level. Buying your car at his Kalamazoo dealership is just the beginning of a beautiful relationship. Picture yourself sipping hazelnut coffee while checking your email on your laptop with free Wi-Fi – all while getting an incredibly discounted oil change. Plus, this car dealer offers free car washes any time and complimentary shuttle service when you’re getting your vehicle serviced. All that’s missing is a neck massage and a glass of champagne.
The Shoe Store There is a well-known local shoe store in Southwest Michigan that sells high quality shoes. During one recent visit, I hesitated over purchasing a pair of shoes, not sure of the fit. Knowing that the next size up was not in stock, this fast-acting salesperson ordered a second pair in the different size and had them ready for me the next day. When I did make my choice, that same salesperson treated my new shoes with a free waterproofing spray. And the salesperson also gave my son some new shoelaces for his sneakers…for FREE! All without my asking. So as you can guess, this store has made me a customer for life! While many think price is the driving force behind many purchasing decisions, good customer service is the number one reason why people return to a store.
We live in a world where we pour our own coffee at the café and bag our own at the grocery store – but there is one marketing tool that can keep your customers coming back – Great Customer Service. Think about that next time and ask yourself, what is the Secret Sauce I can provide for my customers?