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Make a "Customer Connection"

Misleading Customer Service Kills Your BusinessImage by libraryman via Flickr

Through the years, I've learned that the best customer service providers develop their expertise by continually "improving their serve." We can learn all sorts of valuable lessons about customer service simply by having our eyes and ears open, observing the many service interactions we witness on a daily basis.

My wife and I are on vacation this week, but I'm still learning. Yesterday, we walked into a Black and Decker Outlet store in Branson, Mo. As I looked around and stood in line, I became aware that the guy behind the register was constantly making connections with his customers.

"What's your name?" he asked a little boy. After making a quick friend, he gave the lad a small little children's tool "on the house" and won the hearts of the boy's parents.

"Oh, that's an interesting name," he commented as he looked at a patron's identification. "I had a buddy in the Marine Corps with that name." The man and his customer enjoyed a pleasant conversation as the sale was rung up.

"You're gonna love this," he told a customer buying a rechargeable battery. "Let me tell you a little secret that will help you get the longest battery life."

"Is that your family?" he asked a customer who held out his billfold to reveal his identification. "Beautiful daughters. I've got a daughter a bit older than them. They grow up quick, don't they?"

"You're from Iowa?" he asked me. "Are you anywhere near, Story City? Did you know we just opened a store up there!" I didn't know, and I was happy for the information. I'll likely make an occasional stop on my way to and from the Twin Cities on business.

I was reminded how simple it is to make a "customer connection" which transforms a rote, mindless transaction into a pleasant, personable interaction. It is the interaction which makes the experience memorable and brings customers back for more!

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