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The best customer service experience ever - a lesson for the rest of us

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Customer service is THE critical component in any marketing model. Nothing is more important. A company can have an inferior product that is overpriced and can STILL succeed IF they provide good customer service. The best company in the world, with the best product and the lowest prices, CAN fail if customer service is not up to par.

Recently I had the best customer service experience I've ever had, and that is saying something. It happened at a small computer repair business in Shallotte, NC called Knosys Computers.

I am not the new kid on the block. I've been in marketing for over 30 years. As a marketing consultant I often teach customer service concepts to clients. I've written a zillion articles on the subject. I know good customer service when I see it. But the customer experience I had at Knosys was unlike any other experience I've had - ever. It is a valuable lesson for the rest of us.

Last week my computer stopped working. No whirr, no beep, no nothing. In that I spend 18 hours a day, 7 days a week in a passionate embrace with my computer, have 800 client folders and hold about 10 appointments average per day, I panicked. I picked the first computer service listing nearby that said 'free estimate', threw the thing in the car and headed out.

At Knosys, Dave tore the thing apart. We could not find the problem. Now I was worried and began mentally reviewing my backup procedures. He put it back together.

Then he said, “Wait a minute”, and tore it open again. Now I was sweating, cursing the fact that I did not have the foresight to print out a hard copy of my schedule for the day. Still no beep. Back together it went.

After watching me pace back and forth, sweat dripping from my nose, he took pity on me. He opened it again. This time however he opened up his own computer, removed a part from his computer and put it in my computer. Still nothing. He tore the whole thing down again, took his parts out and put it back together. Now I was in full-blown panic mode.

"Wait a second," he said. He opened it for the fourth time, did something, plugged it in and there it was. Lights lighting, beepers beeping and I was saved.

"What do I owe you?" I asked gratefully.

"Nothing."

I honestly thought he was joking. He wasn't. "It was just the RAM. I pushed it back in, problem solved."

"You spent 45 minutes of your time, opened it four times, tore pieces out of your own computer . . . I am going to pay you something," I insisted.

"Just tell some of your friends" he said, and handed me some business cards.

What is the moral of this story?

Customer Service Means Long Term Success

The end result is that I WILL tell my friends - all of them. Any time anybody, anywhere asks me for advice regarding computers, I will send them to Knosys. Nobody will get any of my computer business as long as Knosys Computers is in business. I came back to my office and taped his business card to my desk.

That one experience was so out of place, so different, so off-the-beaten-path of my bad-taste-in-my-mouth computer repair experiences I've had over the last few decades that it made a customer of me. Not just a customer, but a fan - a rabid fan.

If I ever attempt to impress upon any of my clients an example of exemplary customer service, that one customer service experience at Knosys Computers is the one I will use. What might have cost Knosys $50 or so will become the best investment they have ever made in regards to creating a reputation for customer service.

My hosting company did me a real favor once. I have since sent them hundreds of new clients and helped them make tens of thousands of dollars. Same with my mechanic. Knosys will be no different.

Now I am not recommending that businesses work for free certainly. I AM recommending that anyone in business take the time to connect with their own customers in the same way and concentrate on long term success versus short term gains. An occasional favor, with the customer’s well being firmly in mind, can make that happen with no further investment and no further effort.

This is reason we should all concentrate on providing great customer service if it is within our power to do so. Great customer service creates rabid fans, endless referrals and ultimately long term success.

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