Right. You don’t hear that very often. In fact, you probably don’t even think it! In fact, the reverse is usually what we hear – in stories, from our friends, from our colleagues and pretty much every where from customers.
“Please don’t take my money”
“It was not worth it”
“It’s too expensive”
… and many variants of the above.
But, this post is about great customer service. No, wait! It’s about excellent customer service.
I was recently in Peru with my better half and it was the first time I had set foot in the continent of South America – different people, different language, different food – everything was different and yes, being that it was a self planned trip, the “different” was expected. We had planned to be in Lima for a couple of days and like typical tourists, were looking to do the touristy things – experience the food, the people, visit the historical landmarks ‘et al. Yet, at the same time, we wanted to do something that would give us a taste of Peru; something the locals would do. And that happened on our 2nd day when we met a local couple – Sam & Lucas. OK, it was no accident that we met them; they run a culinary tour company, called Capital Culinaria Lima Gourmet Tours and I found them from their almost perfect TripAdvisor reviews.
It’s true that there are many lessons in business one can learn from others, only if we observe them. And observe I did and here is what I learnt about great customer service:
- Make a promise… and then keep It. They promised on the experience (which, I believe is what the adventurous traveler seeks the most) and then delivered on it… multiple times over in the tour.
- Listen. And get to know your customer. Their tours are designed to listen to the customer. For instance, they do not take more than 6 people at one time so that they can create the space to listen to the customer.
- Give Personal Attention. Lots of it. Well, there is no dearth of that given that they run quite a few tours themselves and I am sure the ones they are not able to, are no less personal!
- Run Smooth Operations. Given that it’s a 5-6 hour culinary tour, it can be a bit of a tricky proposition to time 3-6 touristy stomachs for that time! Also, since they visit quite a few establishments in the tour – the timing needs to be exquisite with the local providers, too.
- Be Nimble. They are immensely flexible. Even though they hit an issue in the morning and had to quickly readjust plans – Lucas was right on time to pick us up.
- Win the Customer. Yes, with the great stories (they have a fantastic entrepreneurial story on how they started off), the mouth watering cuisine, and (ahem) the fabulous Pisco – it is a sure shot recipe to win the customer.
To be brutally honest, they had won me over as a customer half way through the tour. The rest of the time, they were just winning a friend! Now, how do you put a price on something like that…
—This article was contributed by Himanshu Jhamb, co-founder of ActiveGarage and co-author of #PROJECT MANAGEMENT tweet. You can follow Himanshu on Twitter at himjhamb.