Outstanding Customer Service

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Ottawa’s Astro Design Centre – a case study in the payoff of great customer service


There have been dozens of studies in the last five years helping us quantify exactly how much ofa difference superior customer service has on an organization. Sometimes the real impact, though, doesn’t really hit home until it’s experienced first hand.
My wife and I are in the early stages of having a new, custom home built. Over the weekend we set out to visit two Ottawastores that specialize in kitchen and bath things. In store #1, we were scrupulously ignored by the half-dozen employees over the course of the 35-40 minutes we were there. Not as much as eye-contact and a smile.
In store #2, we were eventually approached by one of the most disengaged people I’ve ever seen. “Is there anything I can help you with?” the man with the dead eyes and blank expression said in a monotone voice as we were sorting our way through the myriad of sinks and accessories. I began to tell him we were just in the early stages of building a house, and he finished my sentence for me with, “so you’d like to just browse around. Okay, just let me know if you need me.” Then he walked away.
It’s not that these two experiences were horrible – they weren’t. They were just pretty much representative of the type of service you get with companies who don’t focus on customer service as being important.
But then something really cool happened.
In between store #1 and store #2, we drove past a third store that hadn’t been on our list. We hung a u-turn and went back to checkout Astro Design Centre. The two young women at the reception desk greeted us instantly and cheerfully. They showed us how to navigate the store, and off we went.
After making it about halfway through the store, we are approached by Lauren, a designer who works for the store. To make a long story short, Lauren asked us a bunch of questions, then disappeared to get us some material ‘that might help get us started.’ A few minutes later, she returned with a giant bag filled with manufacturer brochures- all tied in a nice ribbon.She was terrific.
On the way home, my wife and I agreed that this would definitely be the first place we would visit when it finally came time to buy our kitchen and bath stuff. Even though it was significantly higher priced in some areas, they clearly care about their customers – and Lauren was clearly going to be great to work with.
How much will we spend on our kitchen and bath decor? I don’t know if it will be $30k or $130k. Regardless, I think Astro’s investment in happy, skilled and well-trained people is going to pay off.
Are you looking for customer service training for your team or company? Look to the world leader in customer service training: Belding Skills Training & Development
Looking to measure your customer experience? RetailTrack is a world leader in Mystery Shopping and Voice of the customer research.

Ottawa’s Astro Design Centre – a case study in the payoff of great customer service
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