When it comes to delivering WOW Customer Service, you don’t always have to re-invent the wheel. Often it’s a simple matter of taking the good things you already do and kicking them up a notch or two. I like to call this Stepping Over the Velvet Rope. You may recall my George Clooney story from the 2012 Academy Awards. That was the year I got to sit on the bleacher seats at the Oscars, and do a little star gazing. Each celebrity gave us a good experience, stopping to pose for photos, waving and blowing kisses in our direction. However, George Clooney went a step above. He literally stepped over the velvet rope that separated the “real people” from the celebrities, and spent time engaging with the fans in the stands. He signed autographs, posed for photos, and chatted with people in the bleachers. You can read more about that experience in my previous blog post.
Talk about WOW Customer Service!!!!
I’ve since used the term “Over the Velvet Rope” a lot in my speeches and in my writing. However, last week, with an audience of senior living professionals, we really got into the nitty gritty of what it means. If you think about it, George simply took what every other celebrity was doing (and doing well), and kicked it up a few notches.
What if you did that? What if you looked at what you’re already doing well and decided how you could take it over the velvet rope. That may be the secret to delivering that WOW Customer Service you desire to give. Here are a few examples:
Good Customer Service: A little boy leaves his stuffed tiger named “Hobbes” at the Tampa International Airport. The airport employees locate it and hold it at lost and found until the boy and his family can pick it up.
Over the Velvet Rope: The airport employees locate Hobbes and hold it for the family. While they’re waiting for them to arrive, they take Hobbes on a little adventure around the airport, snapping photos along the way. When the boy and his family come to pick up Hobbes, they are not only reunited with their friend but they are presented with a photo album of Hobbes adventure.
Good Customer Service: A customer asks for directions to a place in your building and you offer them with a smile.
Better Customer Service: You walk the customer to their desired location or at least until they have a visual cue of their destination.
Over the Velvet Rope: You walk the customer and entertain them along the way, offering tips and learning a little bit about them. Escort and Entertain. You provide your phone number in case they need anything else while they’re here.
Good Customer Service: Your store doesn’t have the product your customer is looking for, so you offer several other suggestions of where they can purchase it.
Better Customer Service: You call the other locations to find out exactly where she/he can get it.
Over the Velvet Rope: You drive over to the other location while she finishes her shopping and have it for her by the time she checks out. (True story from a Publix employee, which you can read in The Celebrity Experience. )
Good Customer Service: You greet someone warmly from your seat, with a smile and learn and use their name while chatting with them.
Better Customer Service: You stand up and greet them warmly, with a smile and call them by name. You offer them a snack while they wait.
Over the Velvet Rope: You walk around your desk and greet your guest with a smile and a handshake. You use their name and tell them how delighted you are they came to visit. You offer a choice of beverages or snacks and serve it to them. You make sure there’s a comfortable chair and table – and a simple way to carry their treats with them if they have arrived for a tour.
See what I mean? Now you try it! What are some things you’re already doing well and how could you take them Over the Velvet Rope into the realm of WOW Customer Service? Comment below and let me know your ideas!
Donna Cutting is the author of two books on customer service, including the Amazon.com bestseller 501 Ways to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers. As the Founder & CEO she leads a team of experts who help leaders engage their teams to take their customer service over-the-velvet rope. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.