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Candy Store Service: Are You A Giver or a Taker?

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When it comes to customer service, do your people perceive you as giving more or taking away?    As we know, a huge part of customer service is perception. What does the customer think they see or think they experience?  

I got thinking about this after reading an article on the website The group noticed two candy stores in the same neighborhood that offered, pretty much, the same candy. Kids, however, preferred one over the other by leaps and bounds. When asked “WHY?” children responded that the one store always gave them more candy while the other store took it away. Was this true or simply a perception?   

“In the good store the owner would always make sure to put a small amount of candy on the scale and then keep adding to it. In the bad store, the owner would pile a heaping amount of candy on the scale, and then take it off until it hit the right weight. The same amount of candy was sold, but perception is everything.”  

Personally, this brings to mind two customer service truths: 1) perception is truth and 2) under promise and over deliver. 

It doesn’t matter much, in the big picture, how you view your customer service. It matters how THEY view it. The tricky thing about this whole customer service thing is that perception is often based on little things. Little things like whether you appear to be adding to the candy or taking away. The bad candy guy, by the way, over promises when he heaps a huge load of candy on the scale and of course under delivers by removing pieces to obtain the desired (or requested) amount. And yes, he could justify the removal by explaining why he was removing candy when the guy across the street was adding. By then it’s too late. The damage has been done. It’s nearly impossible to replace the experience with logic.

Customer service is an experience. Are you giving or taking away?