What Are Positive Surprises and What Is There Effect On Customer Service Quality?

Positive surprises are important, but not as important as avoiding surprising disappointment

What Are Positive Surprises and What Is There Effect On Customer Service Quality?

Positive surprises are things that you may do that go above and beyond the customer’s hopes and expectations (going to five extra miles). They include offering discounts or providing some other benefit that is normally not available to them. Positive surprises are useful in regular customer interactions, or when dealing with difficult and angry customers.

(from Perfect Phrases for Performance For Customer Service by Robert Bacal)

Here are some examples of the use of positive surprises that resulted in the company being seen as offering excellent customer service.

A customer brings his car into the local auto mechanic shop to get some work done. When the customer picks up his car, as soon as he steps into the vehicle, he notices that the car has been vacuumed and cleaned. The shop never told the customer — it was a positive surprise. Result? The customer remembered this “extra”, and became a loyal customer for the shop, forever.

A tired traveler arrives at his hotel destination. He goes to the registration desk, and during the registration process the employee on duty tells the traveler that they are upgrading his room to a suite with a jacuzzi at no extra charge. Result? The traveler is ecstatic at being treated as special, returns to that hotel whenever he’s in town, and tells all his friends and business associates about the positive surprise.

A customer brings his car into the auto mechanic shop to have his air conditioning tested. He is quoted a price of $99.00 for the service. When he arrives to pick up his car, he is told that he’s only going to be charged $49, since it turns out it wasn’t necessary to replace the coolant in the system. Result? A happy customer who returns.

In the first two examples, you should note that the “positive surprises” cost the company absolutely nothing. In the first, it probably took two or three minutes of vacuuming to delight the customer. In the second, the jacuzzi suite wouldn’t have been rented anyway. In the third case, the mechanic shop is “out” a few bucks, but then again, they didn’t have to spend the money to replace the coolant, and simply passed the savings on to the customer.

Positive surprised need not cost anything, but even if they do, they provide an excellent return on investment.

Author: Robert Bacal

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