Protecting the Good Stuff

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“Matt, give me a $10-12 Merlot with an attractive label.” The request came from the customer in front of me at my favorite adult beverage store. The customer smiled at the clever name on the bottle of wine Matt picked for him. It made me recall my early experience with moonshine whiskey.

I grew up in a completely dry and very rural part of the South—the nearest liquor store was over thirty miles away. It meant some of my wilder relatives with a hankering for spirits were good friends with a moonshiner. One of these wayward kinfolks showed up one time at a family reunion with moonshine. He removed the “good stuff” from his car trunk. It was in a clear glass jar placed inside a paper bag. When I asked my granddaddy about the plain vanilla packaging, he said, “It’s not the container that’s important; it is what’s inside the container that matters.”

Now, don’t get me wrong. Connoisseurs of fine wine appreciate the worth of an attractive label or a memorable name. But, if the good stuff inside is not first rate, the label just becomes false advertising.

Customers are the same. As customers, we appreciate the appeal of a decorative, engaging experience. But, if the core not first rate, the customer’s assessment is a lot like getting cheap wine in a fancy bottle.

In the last month I have talked with a super friendly tech who was clueless about how to fix my computer; eaten at a gorgeous new restaurant with inferior food; and, had an overly helpful teller short me $20 when making a deposit with cash back.   All these service providers had their total focus on the packaging of service and completely forgot that, while I wanted a great service experience, first and foremost, I came for the good stuff. What steps can you take to make certain you never take for granted the basics of service?


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