Small Biz Book Club: Customer Service Skills
The Small Business Owner: Keith Miller, owner of Bubbly Paws Dog Wash, a dog grooming business with two locations in the Minneapolis area.
The Book: The
Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary Into Extraordinary, by
Why I Read It: We met
with the person who started clothing retailer Hot Mama, and she gave us a whole
list of books that helped her out. And the one that really stood out was The Starbucks Experience. It was just a
very fascinating book to read, and it made [us] really think about how we do
Biggest Takeaway: I don’t
want to say that Starbucks is the perfect example of small business. I think
it’s a good big business that tries to focus itself to be small.
The one thing that really came through in the book was how [Starbucks]
treats its customers. We’ve always tried to go above and beyond, to make sure
customers are well taken care of, happy when they leave. But in the book, they
talk about how that’s not good enough. You need to do more. They’ve trained a
lot of their employees to read customers, to try to do things to brighten their
day up if they have had a bad day.
The other part was, make sure your employees are always taken care of.
We always try to make sure they’re happy. I think that’s really important in being
a small business.
Applying Lessons Learned: Any time
you’re dealing with dogs and grooming, you’re bound to have somebody that’s
upset with how their dog looks. [The book] talked about how to respond to
negative customer feedback. Apologizing—that only gets you so far. You have to
do more. The best customer service is when people really care about the
incident that happened. Be sincerely sympathetic.
We recently had a customer complain that our groomer took about one-fourth
of an inch of too much hair off her dog. Rather than trying to defend our
groomer, I just listened to her and sympathized with her. I called her back,
let her know what happened and offered her a gift card for her next visit. She
was so happy that I took the time to research it. I also told her I talked to
our groomer about the importance of calling or texting the owner when
encountering any issues that could lead to a dog looking differently than what
the owner is expecting. It was a great learning experience for us, and she just
booked a grooming appointment in two weeks.
Who Should Read It: Any
small business owner who really wants to think about how he or she operates.