Great service is perceived by the customer when they receive a little bit more than what was expected. I highlight the words little bit because you don’t have to do a whole lot to make a memorable impression. When you do a little bit more, the customer feels added value and that’s what keeps them coming back. Service does matter.

Yesterday, a client shared with me that he always goes to one particular place to get his oil changed. Now, oil changes are basically a commodity service, there is not much difference between how one changes the oil and the oil itself. So, this is one business service that has a huge opportunity to increase their competitive edge by making a difference in the customer experience. The client said that while your oil is being changed, you are told to go help yourself to some ice cream in the waiting area. In the bright, clean waiting area, there is a freezer with four different kinds of ice cream and you can serve yourself and your family or anyone with you to as much ice cream as you’d like. He said, “they could give me a discount coupon to win my loyalty, but this leaves a stronger impression. This is more personal. This is fun.”

Another friend shared a story of how they ordered a part for their computer from a company and when they opened the box, in addition to the part, was a bag of tootsie rolls! No extra charges in the shipping due to the candy, but just a nice, unexpected touch. A little bit more than what was expected, certainly, not one that would be expected to be packed and delivered with a computer part.  This made the transaction more personal.  This extra touch made it more fun.

When you can surprise and create a delight for your customer, they feel a connection that goes beyond the business at hand. They feel valued, not processed. It starts to build a relationship and that is what separates commodity products and services from one another. The customer returns for the customer experience. Great service does matter.

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