The Secret To Getting Your Customers To Forget About Your Competitors

July 10, 2013


A Vacation Story

Like many families here in the states, my wife, two children, and myself took a family trip last week.  For us, it was an opportunity to visit my wife’s family in the heart of French speaking Quebec.  This is always a unique experience filled with cultural epiphanies and typical travel frustrations.

However, instead of complaining about some of the lousy customer service experiences we had while interacting with dozens of businesses over seven days, I want to take a different route.  Instead, I’d like to share with you a highlight of the trip, which we had as the very first and very last experience of our journey.

Driving The Customer Service Bus

His name was Mark F.  At least that’s what it said on the name board over his head as he drove our parking shuttle at “The Parking Spot” out of St Louis Airport.

As soon as we parked, he pulled the bus up right behind us and jumped out of the shuttle.  I thought, “ok, what’s this guys deal?”.  He immediately recognized that this wasn’t a business trip and started to interact with the kids.

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At first my guard went up, but I quickly dropped it when I realized that he was just trying to make our life easier.  Still, when he grabbed our bags and started loading them on the truck as we were unpacking our van I couldn’t help but think that a fat tip was his motive.

I thought, “ahh, I’ve seen this before…you’ll get your tip dude, just calm down”!

Then we got on the bus.  We sat in the back as we were the only travelers on the bus at that point.  So, the first thing he did was to address my 5 year old, “Ms. Winchester, would you do me a favor?”.  She was shy, but said, “maybe?”.  He continued, “would you please be in charge of keeping track of the parking spot for your Mom & Dad?”.  He then handed her a card with our parking row number and lot number so we could find it back later (something I notoriously forget on long trips).

Then, he quietly walked back to my wife and I and placed a small bowl of candy next to us with a card that said something to the affect of, please take some.

He then unloaded us very close to our airline and helped us with our bags saying, “I’ll get the bags, you get the precious cargo”.  Meaning the children of course.

One Plus One Does Not Equal Two

Then the trip home…  After being gone for seven days in another country and leaving at an early 4:00am with two children, our last hour was exhausting.  We were spent!

But there he was.  Mark F. was there to pick us up just outside the terminal doors!  It was like he never left!

So, of course he made that last 10 minutes a pleasant one.  It was very nice to have a smile and a friendly face to take us home; home being our mini-van of course.  😉

Then we pulled up to the little shack where there is normally a disgruntled parking attendant reading a book or something like that.  The weird thing was that the parking attendant seemed really happy?!@#$#

She smiled brightly and greeted us with a warmth I’ve only experienced a handful of times.  We exchanged tickets and money and all that jazz.  Then, out of no where she said, “it’s pretty hot out today, would you like a bottle of water?”

My jaw dropped.  I said, really?  How much is that?  She laughed and said, “it’s on us”!

At this point it’s 95 degrees outside the car and the ac hasn’t quite cooled the van down, so I said “SURE”!  She then asked if three bottles would be enough.  Once again, just shocked, I said “that would be perfect”.

Parking Is Believing

After my initial experience with Mark F. I had already planned on writing about this outstanding gentlemen who drove us in.  However, once I had been served by the parking attendant, I realized that something else was going on here.

This wasn’t just one man super-serving his clients.  This was a cultural phenomenon!

That’s when I took a minute to look at their website, here’s the first headline I read,

Expect More than Cheap Airport Parking”

Wow, how cool is that?

So, the point to all of this is simple.  Super-serve your customer and price will fade into the background.  Super-serve your customer and your competitors influence will diminish.  Super-serve your customer and you will build loyalty.  I know this because, I won’t even consider going to another parking lot here in St Louis anymore!

P.S.  I will be sending the folks at the Parking Spot a Thank You card.  Read Jon Stolpe & Matt Mcwilliams to find out why…

Question: How have you been super served lately?  What are you going to do about it?