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Redefine Great Customer Service

Originally published: 11.01.17 by Pete Grasso

Providing adequate or even good customer service simply isn’t enough in today’s competitive environment. Unfortunately, some of the most memorable and shared customer service stories are of the negative variety.

To combat this — and set yourself apart from the competition — you not only need to practice great customer service, you also have to encourage everyone at your company to go above and beyond the scope of what it means to be great.

“Going the extra mile is something that’s not only encouraged, but rewarded in this company,” says Chris Hunter, owner of Hunter Supertechs in Ardmore, Okla. “I encourage and often challenge them to find someone to serve and go the extra mile. It’s who we are as a company.”

Thousands of miles away from Oklahoma, I heard the tale of what one Hunter Supertech did that, for me, demonstrates a whole new level of customer service.

A customer received notification that Supertech Dylan Smith was dispatched to her home for an AC repair, so she quickly called the office to inform them of her bad day in progress.

She had a flat tire, didn’t have a jack and her husband was at work, so she wouldn’t be able to make it home for the service call. The CSR called Smith to relay this information and Smith, in turn, called the customer.

He told her he had a jack and would be right over to help. As he got there and began to change the tire, another woman — noticing the branded Hunter Supertechs van and seeing him in the midst of his good deed — drove up to speak to the customer. She bragged about the Supertechs and told the customer that, if she wasn’t using Hunter for HVACR, plumbing or electrical, she needed to because this is who they are.

After about 15 minutes, Smith had the customer up and going and followed her to the house to fix her AC. Her husband arrived and pulled him aside to extend his appreciation for coming to his wife’s aid. The customers were both really happy to have received this type of memorable service.

Then, true to his nature, Smith finished up and dispatched to the next job. He never told anyone what had just happened — but Hunter’s dispatcher knew and gave Smith a big shout-out on the company’s internal Facebook page.

“She was proud of him, as we all were,” Hunter says. “It’s great knowing your team are always going to do what’s right but, even more so, they’re going to be looking for opportunities to do it.”

Meanwhile, after Hurricane Irma devastated Florida, many were left without power for days. In one instance, the technicians at CoolToday in Sarasota came to the rescue, bringing a customer ice, coffee, milk, a roasted chicken and other items when they came out for her service call.

It made her day, week and month — and thrilled her to have such a caring service company.

“We truly care about our customers … they’re not just dollar figures to us,” says Jaime DiDomenico, president of CoolToday/Plumbing Today. “And that’s the attitude I try to instill in all of our employees.”

Tim Patton, operations manager for PlumbingToday, recalls this story from his days as a technician.

“The customer had a leak on his angle stop under his kitchen sink and he’d recently broken his ankle,” he says. “He shared his frustration, not only with his bum ankle and leaky plumbing, but also because his lawn mower didn’t work. “

After Patton fixed the plumbing issue, he asked what was wrong with his lawnmower. The customer told him the rope broke on the pull handle.

Patton clocked out of the job, so as not to be on company time, then pulled the mower apart and reattached the rope. The customer, on his crutches, came out and asked how much he owed for that.

Patton explained that he owed them nothing, because that kind of service is what sets them apart from everyone else. He broke down and cried, and gave Patton a huge hug.

“This moment will always stick with me because something so little and 15 minutes of my time could change someone’s whole day,” Patton says. “Knowing what this company is about and what it stands for will keep me here for the rest of my career.”

Providing such great service is great for your customers — and it’s great for your company, too. It elevates your reputation and transforms your company into a place where great people will want to work.

These are just a few examples of technicians going above and beyond to redefine great customer service. I’d love to hear your stories.


About Pete Grasso

Pete is the former editor of HVACR Business magazine. He has spent his career working in and with trade media, both as a public relations practitioner and as an editor. He gained a great deal of expertise in the B2B arena, within large and medium sized advertising agencies. Be sure to follow Pete on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn!


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