Shep Hyken

By Shep Hyken

Your Customers Are Unique! Treat Them That Way

Your Customers Are Unique! Treat Them That Way 150 150 Shep Hyken

Have you ever rented a car at an airport car rental agency? If you have, you would know that before you drive away in the car, a few things are done. Someone checks your paperwork, looks over the car to check for any pre-existing scratches or dings, and will usually ask if you would like the fuel option. This allows you to avoid worrying about filling the car up before returning it.

I have a friend who recently rented a car at the airport. While he was there, he was offered an upgrade to a Tesla. Since he had never driven one and had always wanted to, he eagerly took the opportunity to upgrade. When he went to exit, all of the typical questions were asked, including, “Would you like the fuel option?”

He thought about the question for a moment and then began to laugh. For those who may not know, a Tesla runs on electricity. No fuel is needed. It’s an incredible piece of technology. At first, the attendant didn’t realize why my friend was laughing. When he did finally figure it out, he was rather embarrassed.

Something like this happened to me not so long ago at McDonald’s. I don’t go there often, but when I do it’s always because I’m craving those amazing fries! On that particular day, I ordered a chicken sandwich. And fries, of course. As if it were a written memorized script, the woman behind the counter said, “Would you like fries to go along with that?”

My response was, “Do you mean another order of fries, or did you mean to ask me if I’d like a hot apple pie with that chicken sandwich and fries?” I smiled at her. At first, she blushed with embarrassment and then laughed.  And, just so you know, I added the apple pie to my order, which I love almost as much as the fries.

This brings me to my point. Both of these employees, the McDonald’s worker and the gate attendant weren’t thinking about what it was they were saying. They simply asked the questions they so regularly asked. But in both situations, the question being asked was the wrong one. It was not only wrong, it simply didn’t apply.

These workers were simply going through the motions. Now, at times this can be understood. It has been a long day, or the worker is simply tired. But, the best people will always be alert and focused. They will know when to ask the right questions, and when not to ask the wrong ones. The best people understand that each customer is different and special, that each one deserves a unique experience.

Going through the motions is easy, but it’s not what your customers deserve. To avoid this, find a way to customize your interactions with your customers. If you notice a customer wearing a basketball jersey, say something about the team. This breaks the ice and makes the customer feel like you actually care. It allows them to feel special, because they are.

Every interaction you have counts. Every interaction you have should be slightly different. Never make a customer feel as if they are anything less than special and unique.