The Service Gene
I was recently talking to a retailer client and I asked her the question, “what time do you close up shop?” Her answer … “when my last customer has finished shopping.”
Contrast this to the nightly occurrence in many retail stores of, “attention shoppers, please move to the checkout as the store is closing in five minutes.”
It got me thinking as to why some people and businesses seem to intrinsically do whatever it takes to ensure complete satisfaction for every customer they serve, whilst others, because the sign says “we close at 5:30pm”, appear to give little or no thought as to whether or not their customer’s needs and wants have been fulfilled.
As a young child, I distinctly remember there often being a stirring in the house in the wee small hours of the morning as my Dad was pulling on his overalls and boots preparing to venture out into the darkness to go and attend to one of his trucking company customers whose vehicle had broken down.
Running his medium sized Automotive Garage with a variety of clients including Police, Ambulance, government agencies, and a multitude of trucking, courier and freight delivery companies, meant providing a vehicle repair service at a time often determined by the immediate needs of his customers. The option of, ‘pop an aspirin in the radiator’, and see if the truck feels better in the morning, of course didn’t exist.
As Carl Sewell, author of Customers for Life famously said, “in the service business, there ain’t no such thing as after hours.”
Without getting into the ‘nature versus nurture’ debate, I believe people with a great service attitude and ethic contain within their DNA a specific ‘Service Gene.’ A gene programmed to automatically kick into action when it receives or perceives a ‘time-to-serve’ stimulus.
People without the gene, appear unable to detect that external stimulus.
I was blessed to be brought up in a family and business environment where service to others was key. That sometimes meant Dad wasn’t always available to attend school plays or be on the sideline at sporting events, however the extraordinary service he provided his customers meant that the consequential financial success of his business meant that my brother and sister and I never went without.
Upon reflection, this was my first exposure to the reality that ‘high quality customer service drives high quantity company results.’
On deeper reflection, it helped uncover the existence of a specific ‘service gene.’
I am forever grateful that I inherited the gene … I hope you did too.