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Little Ceasar’s or Office Depot?

Pop Quiz: Who has the better customer service, Little Caesar’s or Office Depot? Crazy question, right? I always thought of Office Depot as a fairly professional organization and Little Caesar’s as a cut-rate, you-get-what-you-pay-for kind of wasteland. Last week, I ran an errand for my assistant and stopped by Office Depot to pick up several fairly common items. One item was hard to find so I wandered up to a lady who was deeply engrossed in a conversation with a friend and stood there waiting for help. I kept edging closer into their personal space to get noticed and after several awkward (for me) minutes, said “excuse me” and walked between them. At no time did she ask if I needed anything. I went to the lady behind the counter in the print shop and asked her if she knew where they were. She pointed to an area they “might be” but at least it was more helpful than the first lady. I went to the “ink” desk and she pointed to an aisle number toward the back corner of the store. Again, I had no luck. Ever the optimist, I found two men on the opposite side of the store and asked them. To his credit, one suggested an end cap on the main aisle, but was too busy to assist me. The other said he did not think they carried them. Finally, I gave in, swallowed my male pride, and called my assistant. She told me exactly where they were and I made my purchase. What was the elusive item in this office supply place? Blank index cards.

The following weekend, my wife was sick so I ran to Little Ceasars’s for a couple of  “hot-n-ready” $5 pizzas. I went in and it turns out the pizza was not quite hot-n-ready. The meat pizza was there but I had to wait on the cheese pizza. I sat down to wait and the manager made small talk and checked on me a couple of times between customers. When the cheese came out, I went to get it and he said he had also made a fresh meat pizza since I had to wait. He also threw in some breadsticks for free. Truthfully, the pizza was better than I remembered it being since it had been years since I had eaten Little Caesar’s. More importantly, I left feeling good about the whole experience.

Now, here is the result of these encounters. I was not a fan of Little Caesar’s and they exceeded my expectations and I was a fan of Office Depot and they really fell short of my expectations. If you have read this far, stay with me a little longer because here are my takeaways for those of us in church world:

  • You are only as good as your latest interaction with people. You always have to be working on customer service.
  • You are only as bad as your latest interaction with people. It is never too late to become good at customer service.
  • The best customer service is the kind that says, “let me show you,” or “let me fix this for you.”
  • People that come to our church, especially guests, are our customers and we are in the business of customer service.

I would love to hear from you about how small churches are doing customer service right.

Disclaimer: I have had many good customer service experiences with Office Depot and anyone is entitled to a bad day once in a while, so I will go back. However, in today’s competitive world, there are those who would not. Churches should take heed.

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