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Customer Excellence

May 26, 2010
As I stood in a long line at a popular ice cream stand waiting for a well deserved chocolate ice cream cone after a hard day’s work, I flashed back to my teenage years when I worked for Friendly’s. It wasn’t my first job – I was entrepreneurial as a young girl picking unwanted weeds from the neighbor’s patio, cleaning silver for my aunt, and being a server at my favorite neighbor’s house parties. This new “real job” came with set hours, a perfectionist boss, rules and a life long lesson.  

One year Friendly’s corporate office decided to challenge all its stores to a customer service contest. They wanted excellence running through their company. By hosting this expansive contest, they hoped to motivate each store to higher levels of customer service superiority. Our manager wanted our store in the small city of Rome, New York to win this award. We were told every customer we served could be a corporate representative rating us.

Our manager demanded perfection. He trained us in the exact practices, policies, and behavior he expected so we could win the award. We learned to approach every customer like they were the most important customer, to deliver exceptional service and products, and to be “friendly” in the face of any problems. We won the contest and I walked away with $200 in Friendly money and an approach to customer service I never forgot. It’s probably one of the reasons I give all I can to each and every Women TIES member, event attendee, and inquiry that comes through this company. I was trained to believe the customer is the most important asset of all.  I still believe this. 

Today’s blog is to remind you as the leader of your company, you must create, demonstrate, and train your employees in a corporate customer service policy focused on excellence. They must clearly understand your expectations and be trained and monitored in delivering that policy. It requires your vision, your leadership and a strong management plan.
 
I hope when you enjoy an ice cream cone this summer you are mindful of running an excellent customer service enterprise. Enjoy the taste, savor the moment and relish your accomplishments. 
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