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Old-Fashioned Service Still Counts

April 8, 2012

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The Walgreen’s chain was founded in Chicago, Illinois in 1901. It started out as a drug store with a fanatically customer-oriented owner, Charles R. Walgreen, Sr.

There is a notable and often told story of how Mr. Walgreen would deliver the drugs to his customers in the early days of Walgreen’s. A customer would call the pharmacy and place an order for medication. Mr. Walgreen would repeat back the order loud enough so that his assistant could hear it. The assistant would then fill the prescription and deliver the order to the customer’s home while Mr. Walgreen continued the phone conversation.

On several occasions, the customer needed to interrupt his phone conversation with Mr. Walgreen, saying, “Oh, someone’s at the door. Could you excuse me for a moment?” When he answered the door, he was surprised by the assistant, who handed him the prescription he had ordered just minutes earlier. Customers started telling their families, friends and neighbors about this amazing service. Word-of-mouth spread quickly and Walgreens expanded throughout the United States.

The type of service outlined in the Walgreen’s story seems old-fashioned in this day and age. High volumes of orders, lack of time, cost and staffing limitations all present barriers. But even with these challenges, it is still possible to deliver amazing customer service. As a matter of fact, it’s easier than ever to exceed customer expectations. In most instances, time-starved customers don’t expect your undivided attention. They simply want good, old-fashioned service that is delivered by a friendly person.

It doesn’t matter how great a company’s customer service philosophy looks on paper, exceptional customer service is only as good as the employees who are interacting with the customers. It’s really quite simple.

Just follow these old-fashioned principles:

  • Extend old-fashioned courtesies. Say “please” and “thank you” to your customers.
  • Wear an old-fashioned smile, even when you’re on the phone.
  • Warm up each conversation by taking a few extra minutes to chat with your customers.
  • Treat your customers with old-fashioned respect.
  • Honor their busy schedules by removing service obstacles that waste their time, such as voice mail systems that are difficult to navigate.
  • Wear clothing that reflects good taste and send a message of old-fashioned professionalism.
  • Demonstrate old-fashioned patience when listening to your customer’s concerns.

Remember that without these customers, you wouldn’t have a good, old-fashioned job!

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