Last Saturday, I went to Vision Express in Ashok Nagar to get a new pair of glasses for myself. The lady who was at the counter showed and explained to me about the advantages of frames and lenses available.
When I tried to get her to reduce the price, she stood firm politely and indicated she was bound by company policy. So, I agreed, her explanation too made sense. Then she took me into another room with sophisticated machines and spent a lot of time looking at my eyes and making me read small and big letters. That was when she discovered I have cataract.
After going through this process which lasted at least an hour she suggested that I buy the glasses only after checking with an ophthalmologist. She let the sale go, so that I as a customer won. If she wanted, she could have converted the opportunity as a sale.
I felt enormous respect and admiration for that young lady. And vowed that when I buy my glasses next, it would be only from the same place and if possible from the same girl. She has made me her fan and a fan of Vision Express.
I told her she is a wonderful person and wished her the very best in life, before leaving.
Perhaps Vision Express is instilling great customer service values in their employees. If they are doing it, I am sure the company will have a heady future.
Or, the lady acted from her space of goodness. By being her graceful, natural self, she has not only won me as a customer, but has also ensured that whoever reads this will also develop warm feelings towards Vision Express. Goodness has a way of triggering a domino effect.
The young lady at Vision Express reminds me of one of the most important lesson in business and life. To win in the long run, I have to be ready to lose and let others win first. Or, to give before receiving miracles of abundance for me or Service Square.
The world is not won by colossal steps, it is by those very small, even unnoticed acts of service steeped in goodness.
Even 10 years back, customers generally got a raw deal in India. They are generally accorded deep respect and care nowadays. In the process, employees and organisations become better at establishing relationships. The world is becoming a better and happier place despite all the projections to the contrary we see on TV.
Stories like the one I experienced happen in Service Square at regular intervals. And we become stronger and more powerful as such stories are woven into the fabric of our organization’s culture.
I have started calling and speaking customers who have used our services the previous day. I gain fresh insights everyday. Most of the time it is about their happiness though rarely it is also about their frustrations.
And, we have to pause once in a while to celebrate the richness of the increasing number of our stories. Celebrations would remind our team we are different and very good. Feeling a sense of pride in what we do is critical. And the stories are integral to our growth trajectory.
Each customer is a universe. Yet, we haven’t become good at knowing them individually and listening to their different needs. We club them all in one bundle and give them one-size-fit-all solutions. Awareness of this limitation could very well be a precursor to many insights and actions.
Treating customers with respect can contribute towards gaining increased business. How I wish such enabling behaviours towards customers also leave lasting impressions within us, so that warmth becomes inherent in all our relationships? Or, even better, how wonderful it would be if our customer centred actions spring from our intrinsic beliefs and warmth!
When our actions stem from our core, we pay equal attention to how we treat our staff. In life or in business, actions and results are not compartmentalized. Treasuring our staff creates conditions for delighting customers. Ignoring our vendors is a terrible thing to do.
One very big corporate organization awarded us the contract for providing services designed to take the pressure off their employees. They did everything possible to care for their employees. Yet when it came to paying us for our services they cited procedures and reasons galore. At one time, the outstanding amount worked out to more than Rs.700,000. That nearly put us out of business. The company did not have cash flow problems and there were no service issues. The only issue was, there was no alignment in their thinking. We decided for our survival, it was better to do without their business.
Customers, our staff, our vendors and we – all belong to the same eco-system – and are very interconnected. Like trees – they supply the air we breathe – are connected to our lungs.
The right things to chase in business come seeking me when I first pay attention to understanding myself. Clarity and congruence inside has a bearing on what I think and do outside.
True customer service – it is an inside job.