I was at the bank this morning, about 10 minutes before the bank officially opened, joined by a few of my fellow customers. And as we waited, it occurred to me that a 5 minute change could make a big difference to your customer service!
Sometimes it's the small things that make the biggest differences, both good and bad, so even when something seems unimportant, those small "unimportant" moments can add up to either a great or not-so-great experience. So getting back to my morning bank visit, here we are, the three of us, waiting for those doors to unlock and us to stroll/rush in to get our business done. We all got there 5 to 10 minutes early, and when the clock struck 9am, I could see them stop looking at their phone, fidgeting, and waiting to get in. My guess they had somewhere to go, so they were anxious to get in those doors! Then it progressed to 9:01, and you could see them trying to see through the windows, wondering where the person was to let them in. For some reason, a minute can seem like an eternity when something should be open but isn't. Finally, at 9:02 they open the doors and we all go in.
So at this point, I am sure you are thinking, "What, 2 minutes late and they are freaking out?" And you would be right! It wasn't rational that they were getting amped up, but that is life isn't it? People get annoyed in irrational ways all the time, so the question is, should we do anything about it? Should we bother?
In the end, even if it isn't really "fair" that people get unnecessarily upset by minor inconveniences, it doesn't change the fact that they did get annoyed, and there is a really, really easy way to not only alleviate that, but actually provide great customer service at the same time! If the bank team had gone the opposite direction and went ahead and opened up the doors 5 minutes early, then it would have felt as if they were going above and beyond, even if it was just by a minor gesture. And frankly, I think that is what great customer service is - a build-up of small, minor ways to improve the customer experience. The bank would have allowed me to get 5 minutes extra of my day, which is one of the most valuable commodities we have. Imagine this text from a resident:
"The office opened a few minutes early for me, so I think I might not be late after all!"
So I have a suggestion: Don't change your official open hours, but instead, consider unlocking your doors 5 minutes early. That really has a negligible impact on your operations but can deliver great goodwill for those trying to quickly move on to the rest of their day!