January 5, 2006
Tifton-- Businesses, regardless of their size, desperately want loyal customers and will do almost anything to get and keep them.
Credit card companies, for example, can spend a hundred dollars to get one new customer. Once they get a new cardholder, customer service could make the difference between keeping a profitable customer and loss of an investment.
But if you want to know about real world customer service, then spend a little time with a special service station attendant with a loyal following.
"You want the premium, don't you Jimmie," asks Wayne Bannister, who knows many of this customers on a first name basis.
"I come here because they got number one service," says Jimmie Odom, who buys gas at least once a day from Wayne.
No need to get your fill reading books or attending high priced seminars about customer service. Wayne has natural talent because he likes people. "You meet a lot of good folks. See people. Talk to them," says Wayne, as he pumps five dollars worth of gas.
A former City of Tifton policeman, he has worked for 15 years as a service station attendant, who developed a loyal following by giving the service his customers want. "I go to no other service station but this one where I can get my gas pumped," says Betty Henderson, another loyal customer.
Wayne's customers don't hesitate paying about twenty cents more per gallon for his extra attention, with a steady stream of customers wanting full service. A two dollar sale or a five dollar one, he treats each customer like a friend.
One customer asks him to check her car's oil. "Oil is OK,"says Wayne, "but you need some brake fluid." And within seconds, he adds it and the customer is on her way.
Wayne will gladly wash a customer's windshield if they ask him to, but the finds they don't want their windshield washed because they are in too big of a hurry.
A tire low on air slows a customer. Wayne gladly pumps it up, a common request, even if the driver doesn't buy gas. But what about the customer from hell?
He has those like others who work in the public marketplace. "I just ignore it a let it go. That's the best thing to do is let it go. Go about your business. They ain't going to be here for a minute no way," says Wayne.
He wants their future business and doesn't take comments personally. In a day with a resurgence in customer service, Wayne Bannister could write a book about it, but seeing him do it, creates a positive, lasting impression.