Hi, it’s me again. I might have to get up on a soapbox today because I am going to talk about service and what it means to me when I get it and how much it irks me when I don’t. So…what is service??
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French servise, from Latin servitium condition of a slave, body of slaves, from servus slave
Date: 13th century
1 a : the occupation or function of serving <in active service> b : employment as a servant <entered his service>
2 a : the work performed by one that serves <good service> b : help, use, benefit <glad to be of service> c : contribution to the welfare of others d : disposal for use <I’m entirely at your service>
3 a : a form followed in worship or in a religious ceremony <the burial service> b : a meeting for worship —often used in plural <held evening services>
4 : the act of serving: as a : a helpful act <did him a service> b : useful labor that does not produce a tangible commodity —usually used in plural <charge for professional services> c : serve
5 : a set of articles for a particular use <a silver tea service>
6 a : an administrative division (as of a government or business) <the consular service> b : one of a nation’s military forces (as the army or navy)
7 a : a facility supplying some public demand <telephone service> <bus service> b : a facility providing maintenance and repair <television service>
8 : the materials (as spun yarn, small lines, or canvas) used for serving a rope
9 : the act of bringing a legal writ, process, or summons to notice as prescribed by law
10 : the act of a male animal copulating with a female animal
11 : a branch of a hospital medical staff devoted to a particular specialty <obstetrical service
Wow, I never would have thought the word service had so many different meanings. Now in business, I found what I think is a better definition:
Service business & money definition
- Delivery of work by a person or group for the benefit of someone else.
- Assistance offered by a business to its customers. For example, an appliance dealer is known to offer excellent service to its customers.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Business Terms Copyright © 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Yes, this is what I am talking about. Real service performed by real people who actually know and like their jobs. It really is the service that separates the OK companies from the great companies. I have to admit, sometimes I am not really aware that I am getting great service until something happens and I have an issue. Then I can readily see and feel the type of service I am receiving. Now on the other hand I know exactly when I am getting lousy service or no service at all. Why is that? I think it is because if you are naturally a service type of person you will be that kind of person in most all of your activities. Both at work and at play. If you are not a service type of person, then I also believe you will be that type of person at both your work and play. Service is the thing that will separate you from the other guys, even if you offer the same products at the same price it will be the service and how you handle the customer that keeps the customer in your shop versus the other guy’s shop.
I know most companies believe they have great service, but do they really? Well only your customer knows for sure. Do you say you have great service? Have you ever had a customer tell you how great your service is or was? Have you ever been a secret shopper to your own business to see if, in fact, your people deliver the service you say they deliver? I think that is one of the best ways to determine if you say you have great service versus actually delivering that so called great service.
Service equals value, plain and simple. I will pay a little more for the same thing if I know I am getting the service I need. I refuse to pay the same or even less to get this thing called “no service.” You cannot charge more and service less. You cannot allow yourself to be higher priced and deliver less. At the same time you cannot even use the word service if you are not delivering service. I remember when I opened my first Kool-Aid stand. I was the only kid that would bring the Kool-Aid right to the car. I didn’t make you get out. Heck I was already right there on the curb. It was simple I didn’t even think about it as an extra service. I didn’t even know it was service. But I know I was selling more Kool-Aid than the kids down the street.
Service to me is getting more than I thought I was going to get. I just had my props from my boat, re-cupped and balanced for this year’s boating season. I dropped them off and the counter guy said it might take a week to get them finished up. No problem. The very next day I got a phone call with him saying it would take an extra day to get those props done, as one of the props needed extra work. (I did some exploring last season and found the tops of some rocks). Then I got an email confirming the delivery date. When the day arrived for me to go pick up my props, I got another email saying the props were ready to pick up, and I also got a phone call to say, come on down your props are ready.
Wow, I was really amazed at the level of service I was getting. But wait – it gets even better. When I got there to pick up the props, and was paying the bill, I saw a note on the invoice. The note had the torque values for both props written right there for me. I didn’t even have to ask. Now you might say big deal? Well it is a big deal on getting the correct torque values for props especially when you are talking about counter rotating stainless steel props hooked up to a big block Chevrolet ( 454 cubes or 7.4 liters of Detroit’s best, putting out a little over 300 horses of power).
I told this story to several of my marina pals and they said I paid too much for the prop work and could have saved twenty or thirty dollars by taking them this other guy. So I asked them if the other guy calls you or emails you with the pickup time. They said no, and that other guy is generally late on most all jobs, but he’s cheaper. I ask them about the torque values and they said no again, they had to ask for them, but he’s cheaper. Well I said “was it worth it to save twenty or thirty dollars? Once they thought about it, they said no, in fact one of them said they had to make two trips to find out their props were not ready, so where did the twenty or thirty dollars go? Right into the gas tank of the truck versus beer, or bait or gas for the boat.
I believe in service, I believe it equals value and I believe it is what most of us strive to achieve. What about your service? Be a customer at your business. See if you want you to do your work. It’s a tough discipline but well worth it in the long run. Call your shop and talk to your counter person and see if your service is up to the level you believe it actually is. If it is then be sure to let your people know, and if not then it’s time to insure you deliver the service you tell everyone you deliver.
So as you can see service gets noticed. Service gets talked about. Service is what separates good companies from great companies. Service is an element that can be added or removed at any time of the day. It is up to you “the owner” to insure your people have your service values working when they show up to work each and every day. After all they are supposed to be taking care of the customers, your customers, their customers, and the “other guys” previous customers
I may lose a sale on price but I will never lose a sale on service. Without service there is no value and without value there is no reason to do business with a company.
Ok here is my challenge: Tell me one of your great service stories, and also tell me about one of the horror service stories you have encountered, I think there are many good and terrible service stories out there that need to be told. Tell me yours!
See ya on the web!
Here’s a little blast from the past … a classic Shop Life cartoon!