Customer Service Is Not a Four Letter Word

Test Well

So recently, we got a fair bit of snow dumped on us in the Ann Arbor area. It fouled up the roads, and was generally a pain to travel through and seriously messed up one of my windshield wipers.

You never realize how much you depend on wipers until they don’t work correctly.

So, on my way home, I stopped into our local auto parts shop for a single replacement wiper blade. I anticipated paying for the blade, opening the package, removing the old blade and installing the new blade.

You Know What Happens When You Assume?

Rob, the guy behind the counter, zeroed in on me as soon as I came through the door. Greeted me warmly and inquired why I had poked my head into the store. When I explained what I was looking for, he took one look at my car (he saw me pull up) and asked what year it was. He then asked which blade I was replacing, found it, cashed me out and then headed for the door with wiper blade in hand.

Shocked that he was heading to the door, I asked what he was doing, “I’ll replace it for you if that’s okay.”


As I drove home, it dawned on me what had just happened. I had low expectations, anticipated that I would fumble around with an auto parts book, have to wait in line, and then spend a few moments in the freezing weather replacing a simple wiper blade.

Admittedly, my expectations weren’t high to begin with… and I was alright with that.

I thought of my clients, past and present, that have expressed their pleasure at some small expectation that I have exceeded through the course of their transactions. It dawned on me that many folks entering the real estate market view the process as about as enjoyable as root canal… and that as an industry, we have likely brought this upon ourselves.

Aaaaaannnnd Scene

Watching conversations on the Facebooks and Twitters, I see a number of past clients in my social streams. It hit me today: these folks, many of whom started as “simply clients,” have turned in to some great friends and folks to spend time around.

Too often, as humans being, we are too busy to pay attention to the folks we are working for or with. When I focus on the fact that my clients are people, just like me, with bills to pay, fears and anxieties, hobbies, passions, and the everyday pressures that life brings, I am reminded of the guy at the auto parts shop. I am reminded that by simply focusing on the needs of the folks I am blessed to be in touch with, I can exceed their expectations and, perhaps, just maybe, show another real estate consumer that the fortress of suckitude is being demolished one transaction, one brick at a time.

6 Responses to Customer Service Is Not a Four Letter Word

  1. This article is so very true! Thank you for writing about your experience. Customer service truly matters and speaks volumes!

  2. This article is so very true! Thank you for writing about your experience. Customer service truly matters and speaks volumes!

  3. That’s interesting, ToddWaller Care to elaborate and are your referring to “expectations” (rather….”incorrect expectations”) a customer has? I’ve observed the overpromised and under deliver situation customers experienced in other companies.

  4. Ryan Gravador, it seems to me that the sheer number of conferences and seminars out there are focused on customer service. Yet, customer service, overall, has not gotten much better as a result. I think what folks are more interested in is a superior experience.
    I’m in real estate, right? Many consumers look at my industry and have a very hard time seeing much difference in the service provided, from one agent to the next. Yet, year after year, my percentage of repeat and referral business, as a percentage of my total business, exceeds 60%. 

    Yes, superior customer service is in my business mix, but frankly, the overall experience my clients have is a huge reason they trust me to their friends and family.

    Make sense, Ryan?

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Todd Waller Real Estate
Local Business: Todd Waller
Description: Todd Waller, a self described "destroyer of the real estate fortress of suckitude," focuses on helping sellers and buyers in Ann Arbor, Canton, Livonia, Northville, Novi, South Lyon, Plymouth, and Ypsilanti
Location: 2655 Plymouth Road Ann Arbor MI 48105
Phone: 734.564.7465