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Customer Service-Lean

First Impressions Last

There’s a little pastry shop up the road from us. It’s just far enough off our beaten path that we have to make an effort to go there. My wife stopped in a few years back and got lousy service. I had gone around the same time, but I thought the staff did OK.

Since then, I haven’t passed the shop alone when I needed my sugar fix. Unfortunately for them, my wife’s opinion dictated our actions when we were together. On the occasions when my wife was with me and we wanted some sweets, she vetoed the choice to stop there.

All as a result of the lasting impression that the servers made on her several years ago.

My wife gave the shop another chance this afternoon. And this time, she thought the customer service was good, and told the owner so. The owner was pleased and asked her to write a review.

Two thoughts.

1. It is amazing how long customer memories are. If you blow a chance to serve them well, they may never come back. How much money did the shop lose out on over the years because we didn’t visit, and didn’t tell our friends about the place? Incidentally, the treats were great every time we were in.

Customer service in Lean is a lot like baking.

Follow a precise set of instructions-a recipe-and a chef can turn piles of ingredients into tasty treats.

Follow a precise set of instructions-a process-for customer service in a Lean restaurant, and the wait staff can turn a mere visitor into a delighted customer.

Don’t take any chances on customer service. Lean can help. Develop robust processes that employees can follow in their sleep if you want to consistently please your customers.

2. My wife was willing to fill out a review, but didn’t get any details from the owner.

The lesson? Make things easy for your customer, and they will be more likely to do what you would like them to.

If the owner had postcards prepared for customers to send in to a restaurant reviewer, or cards that listed a rating website, my wife would probably have acted. (Sounds an awful lot like a Lean process, doesn’t it?)

Sometimes, it doesn’t take much to spur a pleased customer to action. Or a displeased one to inaction.



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