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Ideas on How to Bring Customer Service to a Whole New Level

Updated on July 25, 2012
The newspapers and cookies which greet you at the community center.
The newspapers and cookies which greet you at the community center. | Source
Free art stuff to inspire your creative talents all day long.
Free art stuff to inspire your creative talents all day long. | Source

Why Great Customer Service Matters

There is this ‘family camp’ on the California map where we have now been lucky enough to travel to twice. I remember being impressed by the level of service that was consistently delivered here when we first visited, but upon returning here I am more than curious about the mastermind behind this magical place. Not a single detail is overlooked. The staff is always courteous and friendly. The facilities are laid out with perfection in mind.

I am certain this is no small endeavor, even if it all appears so seamless to the outside eye. Upon chatting with an employee poolside who was clearly trained in customer service and was making her rounds to make sure all of our needs were taken care of, I learned that an out-of-state design firm has been perfecting their model since inception. Just five years ago. In my mind, they have clearly set the bar high for all others. When we come here, we not only feel like every one of our needs is met, but we also feel as though our needs are anticipated before we have been able to formulate them.

The ottoman seating near the kiddie pool to keep you comfortable while your kids are enjoying the water.
The ottoman seating near the kiddie pool to keep you comfortable while your kids are enjoying the water. | Source

Great Versus Bad Customer Service

I think most of us appreciate great customer service. This is the type of thing that successful businesses have built their brands on. One example that comes to mind most immediately is Nordstrom. I remember learning about their unique approach in a marketing class which I took in college. Years later, I know I have enjoyed the benefits of taking my kids’ rain boots back for a refund which cracked after only a few uses.

And we all know that we greatly dislike bad customer service. If you are at all like me, it can easily put a negative spin on your day. I cringe at the thought of calling our insurance company to discuss a medical claim, the visits to our consulate offices to renew my passport, or the long lines at the post office to get a package on its way. When you actually encounter a pleasant person in these situations, you pinch yourself to make sure it is true. Otherwise, it seems you take a deep breath and prepare for battle.

The socks, shoe deodorizer and hand sanitizer make sharing bowling shoes a more pleasant experience.
The socks, shoe deodorizer and hand sanitizer make sharing bowling shoes a more pleasant experience. | Source
Next to the sink, you will not only find soap but also bug spray.  And band-aids.
Next to the sink, you will not only find soap but also bug spray. And band-aids. | Source
Just because you get coffee, doesn't mean your dog doesn't also deserve a treat.
Just because you get coffee, doesn't mean your dog doesn't also deserve a treat. | Source

Examples of Superior Customer Service

Back to the family camp. I am eager to share our experiences here because I think they serve as an excellent reminder and inspiration of how to do customer service right. Perhaps one or the other can benefit from the way business is done here. I know I would like to incorporate some of their special touches into my own life. Because being mindful of little details can make a big difference if done right.

Apart from delivering excellent customer service itself, what I find most inspiring is the level of forethought, planning, and execution that is employed here. There are almost too many ideas to list, but I will give it a try to illustrate how they have taken the norm to go above and beyond.

  • At the library: stocked with daily newspapers, a make-your-own espresso and hot chocolate machine, M&Ms, biscuits for your dog
  • At the bowling alley: extra socks, a canister of shoe deodorizer and antibacterial gel
  • In the bathrooms: stools for kids so they can reach the sink or the toilets on their own
  • At the pool: ottoman seating near the kids’ wading pool so you can sit comfortably while you are watching; kid size adirondack style chairs for the littlest guests for easy up and down; snow cones for sale
  • At the community center: bottomless cookies all day by the front door as a special treat
  • At the restaurant: a bowl of fruit and energy bars all day for healthy snacking
  • At the sports pavilion: an assortment of sports shoes for anyone arriving unprepared; cold water bottles in the fridge
  • At the movie theater: a self-help popcorn machine
  • At the art school: water colors, molding clay, pens available around the clock
  • At the pond: complimentary fishing gear
  • At the golf putting park: putters of all sizes and golf balls of all colors
  • At the outdoor movie event: lawn chairs and blankets, complimentary popcorn, candy, assorted non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks; even bug spray to keep the mosquitoes away

The stool which little kids and parents really appreciate when it is hand washing time.
The stool which little kids and parents really appreciate when it is hand washing time. | Source

Great Customer Service is a Combination of Product and People

Yes, it is true that we all like lots of choices and free bees. But I think what is really at stake here to make your stay 100% enjoyable and relaxing are the employees. They are top notch. You will not find a bad apple in the mix. Take for instance the maintenance guy who came back to find us on a trail and offered us a ride back to the house in his golf cart. He had the hot weather and kids in mind and thought we could use some help.

Or, the woman who greets you as you enter the community center to build a personal relationship with each and every guest. She had our names memorized before the end of the first day. She checked in with us daily to ensure we were happy. Or, the waiter at the restaurant who held our table and put our food order in so we could get in a game of bowling before lunch. Or the guy who found my cell phone, called my husband to locate me and literally delivered the phone to my car before I could even get out to meet him.

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