Great customer service creates repeat customers

“The worm has to taste good to the fish, not the fisherman.”
Have you ever had excellent customer service? Undoubtedly you have. This is service that makes you feel special enough to keep returning to that business because you were treated special. The kind of service that you would gladly take your friends and family to.  Online reviews of businesses are often terrible; angry customers want the world to get a piece of their mind. Business owners can learn from those.

But first, I would like to share a personal story about customer service at one local business that took me by surprise and made me a life-long fan and customer

A sandwich shop in East Tampa, Lina’s Sandwiches, opened about three years ago. It’s a small little place where customers just walk in to order – no inside seating. I went there when it first opened because a sign boasted, “The best Cuban in Tampa,” as most sandwich shops claim. I decided to put Lina’s to the test.

When I walked in, the husband and wife owners greeted me immediately and welcomed me to their shop.  I ordered the Cuban sandwich to see if it was the “best.” I watched as my sandwich was being prepared….first in anticipation…and then in horror. I realized that my son had taken my debit card and I had no cash. I had absolutely no way to pay for the sandwich! So I quickly and politely told him to stop making the sandwich and explained my situation. Without hesitating, the owner, Wilifred Nieves said, “No, no you will have this Cuban sandwich because it is the best!” I again explained I had no way to pay him, but he would not take that as an excuse and made the Cuban. I thanked him and thanked him and said I would be back to pay later. He was not concerned about the money but only that I had the experience of tasting the “The best Cuban sandwich in Tampa.”

Needless to say, it was a great sandwich; in fact, I would say it is one of the “best” in Tampa. I have been a frequent and loyal customer at Lina’s, not only for the great sandwich but because I have never forgotten the genuine customer service.

Isn’t that the key to gaining and keeping loyal customers? Treat them like they are special the minute they walk in the door. Business owners need to stop and slow down enough to ensure great customer satisfaction.

Get to know your customers – who they are and what they want. It is easier to keep the customers you already have than to gain new ones.  Customer service seems so simple, but for many businesses it has not been practiced well. Owners need to practice these key elements of great customer service:

  • Greet your customers right away
  • Find out how you can make their experience great
  • Pay attention to their needs
  • Go out of your way to please them.

Your customers want you to know and remember them. This is what sets businesses apart and makes them successful. Loyal customers will be your best advertisement.

Oh, and by the way, I did pay for that first sandwich when I returned.