How do you relate to the public?

Bad-customer-serviceWhen you think of the stakeholders you serve, how would you
describe your connection to them? Empathy, apathy, animosity, appreciation, or something else?

We’ve been working on customer / client focus at GovDelivery, and we’ve gone through some healthy exercises that have me on the lookout for how I’m being treated as a citizen and as a customer.

Example 1: Hotwire Travel and the Morgan’s Hotel in New York.

When I travel, I always book my hotels on www.hotwire.com which is like Priceline except you get a little more visibility into which neighborhood you’ll be staying in (you also get less William Shatner, for better or worse). Over the last year, they’ve added more visibility into the customer ratings of hotels and since then, every place I’ve stayed has been terrific. The Morgan’s Hotel in New York this week had some of the best customer service I’ve seen. At check in, the woman saw a picture of my 3-year old in my wallet and we got talking about kids. She found out that I have twin babies at home and upgraded me so I could get a “good night of uninterrupted sleep.”

The hotel’s “mini-bar” has the normal assortment, but also has over-the-counter sleep aids. For anyone who has trouble getting to sleep on the road, like me, this could be a
life saver. It’s a great example of empathizing with what the customer is going through that I’d never seen before. Due to my infants, I can sleep on demand these days so I didn’t have any need this trip, but maybe someday

Example 2: City of St. Paul Library System

Our library system in St. Paul is truly one of the best. I recently participated in their, brilliantly led, strategic planning process and learned just how customer focused they are. One example: you can drop your library books off at any library in our state and they will count the time you dropped it off as your return date. They find that a lot of people alternate pick up / drop off between the library near their home and the one near their work or on their commuting route. If Blockbuster would have figured this out years ago, I would have rented twice as often. Going into the process, I wondered what the Kindle, iPad, etc. meant for our libraries. Now, I know that they understand their “customers” and will adapt well to continue to provide value to our community.

What’s the coolest example you’ve seen in your organization of how you treat your stakeholders and customers?

Originally published at www.reachthepublic.com

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Sometimes it’s the little things.

I got in a minor accident (flying tire on a highway) so my car was in the shop. I really hate calling car shops and getting passed around.

I thought it was really cool that my car shop emailed me updates every day. Status of parts, how things were going, etc. That’s how I like to communicate – I don’t want a call, just an email. And they did it right.

Andrew Krzmarzick

Just canceled Directv tonight and had a (surprisingly) positive experience. I thought they’d be fairly aggressive in their attempts at customer retention, but they ended up being pretty laid back. I appreciated it a great deal…not that I’m going back to cable, but I won’t tweet negatively about them!