Your relationship with a customer begins long before the restrooms leave your yard, so a good initial experience is crucial
As a portable restroom operator, you know that if you don’t give good service, you will eventually end up with no customers. I am not just talking about the service provided to the toilets. I am also talking about customer service, which starts right in your office.
Recently I picked up Zingerman’s Guide to Giving Great Service by Ari Weinzweig. I read about this book a couple of years ago and decided it couldn’t hurt to look through it. And I am so glad I did.
I completely understand that as a fellow operator, your free time is really limited. So part of the reason I liked this book so much is because it is really brief and a quick read. You can easily finish it in one night.
But the real reason I thought this book worth mentioning is because customer service can make or break your business. I have had the cringe-worthy moment of sitting in my office and listening to someone I employ, on the phone, being rude to a customer. You know that person will never call your business again. And if you have been in business long enough, you realize that there are only so many customers. So we have to treat every customer like the most important customer.
In case you don’t have time to pick up this book, here are Zingerman’s 3 Steps to Giving Great Service:
- Find out what the customer wants.
- Get it for them accurately, politely and enthusiastically.
- Go the extra mile.
Sounds simple right? But it can be really hard for some people to follow this.
First, finding out what the customer wants isn’t always as easy as it sounds. You have to ask probing questions. Because a simple one-toilet event order can easily turn into your driver carting a toilet into a freight elevator and onto the roof of a building in downtown Manhattan. Without those questions, you don’t always receive all the details and then you can’t give that customer what they really want.
Second, accuracy is the most important word of that sentence, in my opinion. I spell back everything on the order to the customer, from street names to email addresses. A couple of letters wrong in a street name can mean your driver wastes time driving in circles. Take a couple of minutes to check everything over before you hang up the phone.
On top of accuracy, enthusiasm never hurt anyone. I am passionate about my business and I want my employees to be, too. I know this isn’t the most glamorous job at times, but we provide a service that people need and there is no reason to be ashamed of that. I am lucky enough to have employees who really love helping customers, and that makes such a difference.
Lastly, feel free to go the extra mile. Extra toilet paper never broke anyone’s business. A few extra minutes on the phone builds relationships. Referring other services like fencing and generators helps your customers and helps you in the long run. So take the time. It’ll be worth it.
Like I mentioned, there are only so many customers out there. And a customer never forgets bad service. On top of that, they generally tell their friends and family about their bad experiences. These three steps can ensure that your customers stay loyal to your business for years to come.
About the Author: Alexandra Townsend is co-owner of A Royal Flush, based in Philadelphia.