My friend and fellow Central Iowa Blogger, Doug Mitchell wrote a great post about his experience at Panera U. He’s been a loyal customer for some time, but is beginning to flirt with taking his regular business elsewhere. Why? Because after months of being a daily presence (usually staying several hours), no one on the staff even knows his name. I understand Doug completely. I’ve had a similar experience at my local coffee shop.
One of the small service elements that our group often inserts into our Service Quality Assessment scale is greeting the customer by name. Why? Because people like to do business with someone who knows them and recognizes them as a person. Doug’s experience is a classic example.
Which reminds me of another post I just read by Mark Riffey. Mark’s favorite Montana town is getting a Wal-Mart and Mark provides some great advice for small business owners on how to compete against the low price behemoth. His Step 5 is priceless, and it speaks directly to what Doug is saying. Know your customers. Greet them by name immediately when they walk through the door. Get to know them, their family, their needs, their business. People will pay extra for it.