We were discussing why we go to the places we go every day when we have so many choices.
Why do we meet at that place for coffee, why do we take our car there for servicing, why do we shop at that store for clothes or groceries? The consensus of opinion was that it was not always price or location, the decision usually came down to the people who served us.
In these days of home shopping, fast foods, computerized cars and self-checkouts, it’s easy to take people out of the equation and let machines do it for us.
We can find an item online, click it into an imaginary shopping cart, pay with plastic money and a stranger delivers it to our door where we sign a tablet with a magic pen and our shopping experience is complete.
We didn’t even have to leave the house and there was no human interaction.
I was going to buy some clothes for my lady for Christmas. There are hundreds of stores that sell women’s clothing in Langley. I chose to go to the mall, go to the store where my friend Adriana works and walked behind her as she recommended the sizes, colors and styles, rang up the sale and I got a Christmas hug as well.
Everything fit perfect and Christmas morning was a success.
I can go to anywhere for coffee in the morning and we change it around as per the order of the day. I can go to Horton’s, wait in line explain what I want and have a nice cup of coffee surrounded by friends.
Or, I can walk into Coastal Coffee, be greeted by name with a smile as my coffee is being poured and sit down while my breakfast bagel is being prepared and brought to my table.
Everything tastes warmer in that environment. It’s the personal touch.
My friend Scott from Precision shared that he teaches the personal touch to his employees.
“If someone has made an appointment, re-arranged their entire day, organized someone to pick them up and bring them back, the last thing they want to hear from the mechanic is that we hooked it up to the computer and could find nothing wrong. We encourage them to go for a drive, explain what the noise is or show us when the vehicle is doing something wrong. We want to listen to them.”
That’s old school when the mechanic would pop the hood and stand by the car while you explained things, took you for a drive and found the problem. That’s why you went back there.
Many years ago, I would run across the alley from the tire shop to Logan’s Drive-in and as soon as I entered the door Phyllis would yell, “Logan’s special, large fries and vanilla shake!”
In five minutes I was back at work with my lunch. Why would I go anywhere else? They treated customers as if they were happy to see them.
We taught our firefighters that the accident they were attending at 3 p.m. may be the third one they had attended that day but it was a life-changing experience for those victims, maybe the first trauma they had ever had. They were to treat each patient as an individual, give them expert customer service.
You will remember the smiles and the service long after you’ve forgotten the price.
At least that’s what McGregor says.