Gratitude – A True Measure of Your Service Warmth

“Thank you” are the two most important words in the English language. Yet, how often are you served and end up the only one in the equation doing the thanking? It is always important and never more so in today’s tough economy to make sure customers know unmistakably that you never take them for granted. If all your customers exited tomorrow (which they certainly could), how well would you fare the day after tomorrow?

The goal of an effective “Thank You” is not simply the expression of a statement but rather the conveyance of a feeling. We have all been on the receiving end of “thanks” knowing there was little sincerity. Thanks means communicating gratitude in a fashion that makes customers feel your authenticity. Most customer relationships don’t end in dispute; they wither away from disregard and neglect. Remember: customer relationships are fueled by affirmation, attention and care which are critical elements of service warmth. Also remember most customers do not feel obligated to let you know they are unhappy much less they are leaving! Research tells us that only 4% of disappointed customers will even bother to complain!

Great service leaders show the same gratitude to employees they expect them to show to customers. One call center rep put it this way: “The big deal service award ceremony with all the ‘hot dogs’ from mahogany row that we never see except on special occasions is nice, but not necessary. All we need is for senior leaders to occasionally walk through our areas, show interest in what we do, spend time understanding what we are learning from customers, and thank us for our contribution.”

Great customer service is not “rocket surgery!” It’s simply focusing on what’s important to customers, not boxing them into absurd boundaries, carefully managing the details to keep the experience simple, and letting them know they are valued. Service warmth comes from a strong demonstration of gratitude to customers. It is great to provide a sincere “thank you” but a true measure of the warmth of your service comes from a thank you laced with generosity.

Tacqueria del Sol, a four unit chain of affordable Southwestern fare in Atlanta surprises its regular customers with a “holiday meal” every year during the December holiday season as it’s thank you laced with generosity. Staff members together identify their restaurant’s regulars and treat the regulars to a free “holiday meal” with no limits. I have frequented one location at least weekly for years yet I am always pleasantly surprised to receive the honor of a free “holiday meal”. Their generosity has at times extended to my entire family of seven! I have observed many customers expounding the virtues of Tacqueria del Sol, its great food, great service and especially its generosity.

How are you warming up your customers experience with an appropriate thank you? Does your gratitude to customers include a strong dose of generosity? In today’s rough business climate we need to forge a “steel-like” bond with our customers. Gratitude and generosity warm up the experience to help you create devoted customers who are loyal advocates for your organization.

Writer Bio: John R. Patterson is a sought after speaker on customer experience and a customer loyalty consultant. He is the co-author with Dr. Chip R. Bell of the national best selling book Take Their Breath Away: How Imaginative Service Creates Devoted Customers. He can be reached at www.taketheirbreathaway.com.