I buy my night crawlers (worms) for fishing at Jerry’s Bait & Tackle…an antique, all-purpose country store on Lake Oconee, Georgia. Buying night crawlers involves several steps: opening the refrigerator, taking out a Styrofoam cup of worms, pouring them into a large container to make certain they are all wiggling (therefore alive), replacing the worms in the cup, and purchasing the worms. Anglers are right particular about their fish bait. So, Jerry’s put the “easy button” treatment on every square inch of the store!

First, the refrigerator is right next to the fishing lures and hooks so customers there to buy hooks remember to get worms and vice-versa. Some establishments would separate these and keep them under the close control of management. There is large note on the refrigerator door reminding customers to check for wiggling by using the large funnel shaped bucket. And, when the cash register is involved, there is a checklist on the customer’s side—need a fishing license, cold drinks, cigarettes, etc. The goal is clearly to help customers avoid getting out in the middle of the lake only to discover a critical fishing item is missing.

Here is the part I like the best! Jerry’s is not just all-purpose—it is all-pleasure. You can get the Wall Street Journal, not just the local gossip rag! You can buy lottery tickets. You can buy the typical beer and wine…but, Jerry has a few bottles of the pricey wine—for that special occasion when you forgot to pick up the really good stuff. He has unexpected items like a flash drive, odd battery sizes, windshield wiper blades, or a wrench to remove a water filter. If you need it on Sunday afternoon when every other store is closed, Jerry just might have it! It is a way of delivering a surprise to a customer who thought they were in big trouble!

This is National Customer Service Week. It is a time to recognize the person whom Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton said, “can fire everyone in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his or her money somewhere else.” Celebrate your customers by taking the effort, anxiety and angst out of their experiences.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The 9 1/2 Principles of Innovative Service by Chip R. Bell

The 9 1/2 Principles of Innovative Service

by Chip R. Bell

Giveaway ends October 12, 2013.

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