09 May The Most Important Business Tool of the Next 50 Years: Customer Service
I just left the PRSA National Counselors Academy Spring Conference, where the the clever and extremely accomplished Peter Shankman gave a Keynote on customer service as the most important business tool of the next 50 years.
As I left the conference, a story unfolded that epitomizes this concept.
On the way to the airport, I called an Uber, then ran around outside as the app told me my driver was there. I texted the driver several times to say I couldn’t see him and walked to both ends of the block to find him. Promptly my driver canceled the ride
Then Uber charged me $5.65 because my driver canceled on me. Yea – I’m taking Lyft from now on. Grade for Uber Driver = F.
I hopped into a taxi and prayed I would make it to the airport in time. As we pulled up, I prepared to roll out of the car at top speed, reached into my purse and felt… no wallet.
I checked my other bag…no wallet?!!!
Oh what did I do?? How am I going to pay this taxi driver? Oh my word I’m going to miss my flight. What am I going to do?
A moment later my cell phone rang. It was the head of security for the Hilton Toronto. Is this Jennifer Quader? Yes! Did you happen to find my wallet? Yes – you left it in your room.
Now I could go on a tirade of self-deprecation, but instead I just own it: Yep, I messed up. Realizing that I DID have my passport with me:
Q: Can you mail it to me?
A: No ma’am. Customs would scrutinize it, and FedEx won’t ensure it for its proper value. I could put it in a taxi right now to the airport.
Ok – let’s do it! He proceeds to get it into a taxi within three minutes, calls me back and gives me the taxi make, model and number, and says the driver will call me when he arrives – likely in a 1/2 hour. Hilton Toronto = A+
Next stop: American Airlines ticket counter. Note that I have not yet missed my flight – I still have about 40 minutes. I approach the ticket counter to explain my slightly embarrassing situation:
Q1: Is there a hope of making the flight?
A: Yes, if all goes perfectly.
Q2: And if I don’t make it?
A: We’re happy to rebook you on a flight today or tomorrow. I’ll put a note in now, so we can help you easily either way.
No problems, no challenges, just a wonderful, helpful, kind, knowledgeable man named Sean, who deserves American Airlines’ praise & attention.
35 minutes later:
—Taxi pulls up with my wallet
—I navigate security & customs and arrive at the gate, only breaking a full sweat about 5 times along the way
—I run to the desk
Q: Has the flight to Chicago already boarded?
A: No ma’am, you’re just in time. Are you Jennifer?
American Airlines Toronto Airport team = A+
In the span of just 2 hours, I found examples of exemplary customer service. And in the mind of at least this consumer, the Hilton and American Airlines brands have just been elevated. Both brands earned my trust today.
As President of a PR, Content, & Marketing Agency with offices in Newport Beach, Los Angeles, & New York, I’m acutely aware of the power of trust. Our Clients trust us as counselors, producers, strategists, and creators. It is through this trust that we are able to develop powerful campaigns that drive real results.
As I look at the business landscape, I remind myself of a core value on the Brower Group team: Our work is our pleasure. By giving exceptional service, we share that value with our Clients and customers each day. And as we advise our Clients, we will continue to look for opportunities to personalize and elevate their experience. This will be a tremendous business advantage in the years ahead. And perhaps more importantly – it’s the right thing to do.