I always fill my gas tank at a hole-in-the-wall station slightly outside my normal commute to work. The prices aren’t great, and the awning over the gas pumps leaks when it rains. But the manager inside greets me brightly each visit, his apron covered in icing from the doughnuts that he’ll soon tease me for not resisting. He’ll ask me about my new job and tell me about his new granddaughter. He’ll sometimes throw a few 25 cent mints into my bag, telling me that they can help motivate my employees. He has my gasoline purchases locked down for the foreseeable future.
Leaving my parking ramp each day, whirling down the spiral is only my second-favorite part. As I roll my window down to release the stop-arm, the attendant shouts over the noise of nearby traffic and tells me to have a great night. This happens every night. It doesn’t matter which attendant is on duty. It doesn’t matter whether I’m blasting country music or Lady Gaga. Storm or sunshine, Holiday or plain old Thursday. I can’t imagine parking anywhere else.
Customer service is an obnoxiously cliche topic. But done right, it’s powerful and profitable. The trick? Surprise customers. Then surprise them again, and again, and again.