I found this great customer satisfaction story in my archives, of a lady who ran an outdoor garden and spa pool business in West Auckland. She told me that one day a customer came into the shop and spent a lot of time looking at her outdoor furniture and was about to leave. She approached the customer and asked what it was she was looking for. “I need some green garden seats,” she said, “but you don’t seem to have any.” So the business owner, instead of saying “No we don’t”, said “Why do you need green in particular?” It turned out that this lady was shopping for an institution which required not one but twenty green garden seats. So the store owner asked her prospective customer to wait while she made enquiries – and those enquiries revealed that she could get the product required and thus she made a great sale.
This story is seven years old, but is still a great example of the difference you can make to your business by having a different attitude. Instead of saying “No we can’t”, find out exactly what the customer wants and then maybe we can.
I have also been guilty of this in my own tour business. A lady had enquired whether we were doing a tour to a particular show and I told her “No”. I realised my mistake immediately because I really should have asked her was she interested in going and how many people she was wanting to accompany her. Because who knows, she may well have had ten friends which would have made a special tour possible for her. For me that was an off moment, because normally I would have thought of that response.
But all of us need to instill that sort of attitude not only into ourselves but into our sales teams and front-of-house people, so that if there is a possibility of getting business at all in good or tough times, then it comes your way instead of going to someone else.