I have experienced fantastic service before a purchase, during a purchase and after a purchase yet never without a sale.
My family and I were on a summer vacation trip to the Grand Tetons National Park in Wyoming. On Sunday, we decided to try kayaking on the Snake River that runs through the park. Visiting with Charlie Ammiriti the information specialist at the Jackson Lake Lodge in the Grand Tetons National Park, he dissuaded us from this dangerous idea and suggested rafting with a guide. On that particular morning all the park rafting trips were full so he gave us the phone numbers of other rafting companies in nearby Jackson Hole. We followed his advice. The next day we left the Grand Teton area and traveled up to Yellowstone for the balance of our vacation. Friday we left Yellowstone and while passing the Jackson Lake Lodge thought we should stop and thank Charlie for his advice on the rafting. He asked about our rafting trip and what we had done since that Sunday we visited. He inquired what we would be doing for the balance of our time in Wyoming. I told Charlie we were leaving the park and staying in Jackson Hole that night. We would be flying out the next day at 1 pm.
Now Charlie had no financial interest in us as we would be spending our MONEY with his COMPETITORS. How did Charlie handle this NO SALE situation? He first produced a road map and offered an alternate route to Jackson Hole that would take us through a wild Buffalo preserve to add to our wildlife viewings. Then he gave us a city map of Jackson Hole and highlighted how to get to our hotel and suggested we check out their live entertainment that evening. Then Charlie produced two menus and a suggestion based on our food choices of where we could eat that evening in Jackson Hole. He offered to make the reservations for us. He showed us where the Jackson Hole Wild West shootout would take place that evening, mentioned points of interest to see and wrote out two short hiking trips available for us the next morning before we went to the airport. No sale for Charlie yet we received fantastic service and value.
I called Charlie a few weeks later to inquire why he gives 100% value even when he is NOT getting the sale. He stated “I look at this as a relationship with someone that lasts even after they leave the National Park. To me this is not a business transaction but the start of a long relationship. Recently a woman who had my business card and had stayed in our lodge called from Saint Louis. She had traveled there for business and wanted the name of a good Barbeque joint there to eat at. I asked around our lodge and called her back with directions, the phone number, and the name of an excellent Barbeque joint. I focus on the customer having a good time and a great experience”.
WOW. What business lessons can you learn from Charlie?
1. View the time spent with your customer not as a business transaction but the start of a relationship based on honesty, thoughtfulness, and trust.
2. Focus your energies on keeping the customer happy and enhance the experience by adding value.
3. Do not end the experience at the finish of the sale. Help the customer any time and any way you can to build a lasting relationship.
4. Give 100% service without thought to who gets the sale. You will have them, their friends, and their families business when you continually take care of them. Think about it .Would YOU do business with anyone else when treated so well? The first time we met Charlie he had two other people waiting for him when there were two other information specialists free.
5. Love thy customers.
Thanks Charlie, for giving us a lesson on fantastic service.