This is the season of gifts. Christmas trees are filled with gifts. Hanukkah has eight days of gift giving. Almost every faith in the world uses the giving of gifts for important symbols. And, then there are gifts to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, retirements...we all seem to love gift-giving.
Gifts come in many forms. There is the convenient gift—usually cash or affinity credit card. There is the homemade gift—like baked goods, croqueted items or the right-out-of–the-shop doll house. And, there are the “I don’t know what to get” gifts—like a book, a tie, or a scarf. Gifts tell us a lot about the giver and the importance of the event. It is a lot like customer service. Customers think of great service as the kind that is laced with generosity. Even self-service can be an opportunity to add a special gift.
Early yesterday morning I stopped at a large gas station to fill up with gas on the start of a trip. Before I could replace the hose in the self-service tank, the owner inside the station came on the speaker on the tank with a cheerful, “Thank you so much. We have free hot coffee inside if you’d like a cup.” When I indicated I was in a hurry she quickly added, “I understand. I want you to know we are open on Christmas day. Hope it is a special holiday for you and your family.” It was an unexpected service gift—simple, homemade, and joyfully given. How can you make great service a gift to your customers?