By Tracy Mandelka, Assistant Vice President, Business Development, Wheels Inc.
One of the most fulfilling parts of my day is walking through my front door and being greeted by my dog, Cali. This may conjure up an image of a perfectly trained and poised dog, sitting at attention, faithfully waiting for me at the front door. Let me assure you that image is not reality! Instead I have a 75-pound mutt (I use this term affectionately) jumping on my couch, with two paws on the armrest the other two on the couch cushions, waiting impatiently for me to open up the door. I’ve often wondered why, when I know it’s coming and that she is breaking many house rules, this simple act puts me instantly at ease. And then one day it hit me – Cali’s ritual is purely customer driven. She anticipates my needs and customizes her actions accordingly.
I have studied Cali’s movements and discovered that for her, the process starts well before I am even aware of it. It starts as my car approaches my house and progresses as I move from my car, to the sidewalk, to the house. I certainly don’t have a set schedule; sometimes I am gone for five minutes, sometimes for five days. But that doesn’t matter to Cali. She makes it all about me. Every time, Cali greets me in the exact same way.
She does have similar greeting rituals with her other humans, but she adjusts her location and level of enthusiasm based on who. My greeting is optimized to what works best for me. She knows that I’m usually juggling several bags and dressed in work clothes – making it difficult to bend down to pet her right away. By positioning herself on the couch she is at my eye level and is high enough that I don’t have to drop my things before I can give her my “hello” pet. And she never crosses over that line because she knows that I do NOT like when she jumps on me!
This behavior is what being customer driven is all about – thinking about and looking out for your customer all the time; having their best interests in mind even when you might not be on theirs. Cali, like the best customer-driven businesses, has mastered the science and art of customer service – know your customer, build and leverage efficient processes but customize as appropriate to support their unique needs.
How do you adjust your style to provide individualized service? Join the conversation at [email protected].