A small business owner in Phoenix explained the secret to outstanding customer service to me recently. Here's what he had to say.
Last Saturday I discovered that my wife's car needed new tires. A split had appeared in one sidewall and was growing. Since we needed to head home, I had to find a place to buy new tires quick.
I stopped at a major mall store to buy tires. 20 Minutes of waiting to talk to a sales guy and I left in disgust. Similar story at a major tire store... and then a "service" station.
I finally stopped at "Big O" on 40th St in Phoenix. The owner, Matt Chapman, greeted me asking what I needed. He looked at the car, and told me that he had tires in stock and that they could be on the car in 20 minutes. All of this while his shop was incredibly busy.
While I waited I read letters posted on the wall. Two of them really caught my attention. They were letters from headquarters congratulating the store for having a ZERO complaint year - for two years in a row.
I asked Matt what the secret was. His answer was surprisingly honest: "I pay attention to my employees. Take care of them and they'll take care of you." He went on to say that he'd only fired one person. Amazing.
It wasn't really all about treating employees right (well maybe it was). He also said that he encouraged "whiners and complainers" among his existing customers to go elsewhere. And they did - only to be replaced by reasonable cutomers that took less time. His business doubled.
Maybe we'd get better customer service if fewer of us complained and whined over non-issues.