While I’m mostly passionate about service in manufacturing, something caught my eye the other day.
I came across a post on Facebook that mentioned service in a new context for me. Read below:
Josh Garrels is an interesting artist. I’ve been a fan for quite a few years. He’s been pretty innovative in his use of crowdfunding and services like NoiseTrade to give his music away (and only making money by “tips”).
What I love about this thought of music as a service is his belief that art should lead people to what the need to see, hear, and touch, not because it is believed that people want to purchase it. Creating art that people need is a public good, a service.
The same could be true for the product world. So often, product A is created and marketed because people want it. While is some cases this is okay, what would happen if we approached a problem with “What do people need?” What if we did the service of taking the time to solve not only what the customer wants, but maybe what they don’t even realize is their need?
We found out about 6 months ago that our son has a sensitivity to eggs, gluten, and dairy. We’ve cut them out of his diet and found some substitutes that work well. The kid loved eggs though. We caught him stealing scrambled eggs off his sister’s plate one time and we dealt with the effects for the next three days. Ever since, my wife Christina, has been a “mom on a mission” (her words). However, his sensitivity is limited to chicken eggs. So we’ve been looking for someone to sell duck eggs and have even considered raising ducks ourselves.
We had an early Saturday trip planned to St. Louis a few weekends ago. Christina had found out from a restaurant supplier that a vendor at the Soulard Farmer’s Market sold duck eggs. She was excited about the possibility of finally getting a hold of some eggs.
I walked away a great, practical lesson in customer service from our experience. Engagement and attitude can make you a winner.
We walked straight in to the market to find Harr Farms. Success! We found duck eggs. My wife was curious about how duck eggs might differ from chicken eggs so she chatted with the vendor for a couple of minutes. He took time to listen and answer her questions fully. We walked away with three dozen eggs. He earned a future returning customer.
It’s a nice market. We took out time walking through, checking everything out. We bought some produce here and there from different vendors. We walked by the Soulard Spice Shop once and remembered we had been looking for some pork sausage seasoning. So we turned around and Christina headed inside.
After waiting in line for 3-4 minutes, Christina was able to speak to someone about the ingredients in their sausage seasoning. The employee pulled a binder out and did a quick search. She responded, “We don’t have it listed.” Christina explained that she was just needing to confirm that it didn’t include gluten. The employee’s response, “If you’re that concerned, you just need to make it yourself.” Her rudeness was confirmed by the fact that the conversation was over. She had an opportunity to sell my wife the individual spices for us to make our own but she didn’t. We walked away empty-handed. She made sure we’re never going back.