One of my passions is Customer Service and in my travels I’ve come across a wide variety of interpretations of this, starting with “the customer is always right”. Keeping in mind that Charminguy.com will have a certification process for it’s male members, I took the concept a little further when I started thinking about the customer service experiences I’ve had with taxi’s, plumbers & other “charming experience” high risk professions.
I have decided to call this "seal of approval" Charming Professionals.
In a recent conversation with the lovely Sunny Cervantes, we had the following discussion;
The concept is that we would be certifying professional organizations & companies in traditionally (normally) non-effective customer service areas. Take for example taxi services.. wouldn’t you prefer to ride in a taxi where the driver was Charminguy Certified? Where you know that not only was customer care/satisfaction a concern/priority, but that the driver was also paying extra special attention to be charming to his passengers? That in short is the principle and I’m sure you can see how this could apply to any profession.
As a consumer, of course I'd appreciate it if my taxi driver is charming. But, unless I understand what it means to be Charming Guy Certified and what the added value is of that certification to me as a member of the cab riding public, it wouldn't really have an impact. I wouldn't go out of my way to wait for a cab driver who possesses the certification. If I happen to ride a cab that was Charming Guy Certified and he was indeed charming - to me, that would just be giving me what is due me as a paying customer. Being charming in that sense, then, isn't an edge for me. It is an expectation. And while expectations in customer-service oriented industries/businesses are often not met, the added value of that certification to me is just lost in the expectation. However, if I knew what the perks are for riding a cab that was Charming Guy Certified, I would make more effort to seek out cabs that carry that certification even if I am late for an important business meeting.
The Charminguy Certification of business’s/professions has more to do with immediate value add to the provider of the service you will use or purchase, and secondarily will benefit the user of the service. It’s like the Charming version of ISO 9000 certification.
Let’s take the taxi situation and I’ll speak from my expectations rather then from someone else’s. What I expect from a “standard” taxi driver is;
- the quickest route, unless I ask for the scenic one
- drives safely
- polite and helpful with loading bags into the trunk
- doesn’t smoke in my presence
- has a neutral smell
- both the taxi & the driver
- taxi is clean
- meter is clearly visible
- has adequate change
- has receipts
- no “special mirror” to look up passengers skirts
The following additional features would make it a charming experience;
- opens the car door for you before & after the ride
- permanent smile
- asks if you’d like the windows unlocked
- confirms the temperature of the car is adequate to your liking
- engages you I conversation
- disengages if you’re busy or not in the mood to engage
- gives you some interesting facts about your surroundings
- asks you what kind of radio station you’d like to hear
The latter are only a few examples; this would be the bare minimum extra service to be considered a Charmingtaxi. If you had this extra service, then not only would you probably leave a better tip, but you’d also to and reserve this taxi company next time you’re in town.
I totally get now what it would mean to be Charming Guy Certified. It's like the gold standard of service. And now that I understand it, I wouldn't mind going out of my way and spending a bit more to get service providers who are Charming Guy Certified. :)
**end of conversation**
Different cultures have different views of customer service. Of what is the bare minimum to be expected, and then there is “authentic” value added customer service that just puts a positive spin on your day. It’s precisely the unexpected that most brightens up our day. This type of service & attention can be extended to any industry and it all comes down to hiring people with improved empathy & listening skills or provide this type of training. It’s suited to organizations that are willing to improve the level of service they currently give to a customer, even if it’s already good!