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Time and tide and great customer service…

There is a saying that ‘time and tide wait for no man’. This was bought to mind recently when I noticed that the reading glasses I started to wear for the first time only a year ago, already needed new lenses. Ah well, ces’t la vie!

So I headed off to see an optician.

During my visit I was reminded what good customer service really should look and feel like. First of all the optician remembered doing my eye test a year ago. No mean feat considering that had been my first and only visit to what is a very busy shop. The importance of memory on personal impact brought to life. Suitably impressed, I was placed with an advisor who proceeded to guide me through the eye test and purchase process. Whether he was aware of it or not he employed many of the personal impact elements I’m used to teaching:

Eye contact: Ok, I was visiting an optician so I guess you’d want a bit of that, but what I mean is he maintained his focus on me despite the distractions of numerous other customers needing to be served. He glanced to others but never lost his focus on me and on the couple of occasions where he had to leave me he politely excused himself.

Metaphor: when I questioned whether I should go with a different style for a new pair of glasses or stick with the same one he told me why he sticks with the same style of trainers. His argument was valid and by employing the use of metaphor he helped to reinforce the logic in what he was saying. Ultimately it helped me to make my choice and in helping me he built rapport with me.

Questioning: he focused on what I needed and not what he could sell me. He did indeed get to the up-sell stage but only after establishing need. Had he not invested in the questions I would not have been open to more spend.

Investment in Customer Loyalty: he gave me a cleaning kit for free. “aha!” I hear you cry; he gave you free stuff so that’s why you bought more stuff. No. He gave me free stuff after I bought stuff. There was no need for him to do so but he listened to the problem I had with cleaning glasses and he offered a solution. A solution which was the final thing he did to ensure that, although I have an optician within easy reach of my home, I will continue to travel the extra distance to his shop every time I need to. The cost of the kit compared to the future spend my loyalty may produce was negligible.

I often feel underwhelmed by the customer service I sometimes encounter in the UK when I compare it to the great approach I often experience in the US. My visit to this London optician brought into sharp focus just how great the experience can be if a little bit of attention is paid to building rapport.

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