What's The Diff?

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Housecleaning to the MAX!

Now I realize that I started something of a little hailstorm in my last
, but really what I was trying to convey is the difference between
ordinary customer service and extraordinary customer service. So, if
that didn’t come across very well, let me give you another example.

Back in 2000, I was living in a cozy little duplex but the landlord
decided not to extend our lease another year, so my roommate and I had
to move out. But before we did, we hired a cleaning crew. They charged
about $120 and I thought they did a good job and the place looked

Then I met Pam Suino—the wife of my martial arts instructor who quickly became my best friend in the entire world. She and her husband Nick were living in northern Michigan where Pam was in business for herself, cleaning houses and hotel rooms. Then they moved back to Ann Arbor so Nick could open a new martial arts school. That meant Pam had to drop all her clients, move down to Ann Arbor, and start up all over again.

Don and I figured we could help her out by hiring her.

Well, Pammie came in and she cleaned like I have NEVER seen anyone clean! Not only was the house absolutely SPARKLING, she was cleaning things other housekeepers would never even dream of thinking about cleaning! Like the mold that appeared on the underside of the sliding shower door, the siding of our house, even Don’s crappy, dingy old computer keyboards which were gleaming white once more! She has ways of getting out stains in carpet and clothes that won’t come out with any stain remover you could buy. She even managed to get out the stink in Don’s karate uniforms just by using a cup of ammonia in the wash! (Everyone should do that if your gym clothes stink.) She’s unbelievable!! She has creative and wonderful ways to organize our things so that the house is less cluttered, and decorate our house to so it’s more home-y.

On top of all that, she leaves little treats for us—something she does for all her customers. We’ll come home to find a warm lemon poppy seed loaf waiting for us, or a cute little tea light candle to decorate our bland bookshelf. Once, she even bought us a beautiful red (she knows that’s my favorite color) bed spread for our guest bed as a way of thanking us for referring her to so many clients! All this and she only charges us about $100—less than the cleaning crew I hired previously, but she does WAY more.

I once recommended her to a friend of ours and the next time I ran into him, he looked at me with his eyes wide, and a stunned look on his face and all he said to me was, “HOLY CRAP!!!” I smiled, knowing he was talking about Pam.

That’s THE DIFF. That’s what I mean by ordinary and extraordinary customer service. It’s beyond delivering someone’s food order on time and saying “Thanks for your patronage. Please come again.” It’s going more than the extra mile. It’s doing wonderful things for your customers that no one else will—things that make your customers love you and want to do business with you for life. Pammie gets it. I get it. Do you?

By the way, in case you were interested in hiring her, she only does houses in Ann Arbor, MI and she’s all booked up, but if you want to be put on a waiting list, you can forward your info to me and I’ll forward it to her.

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  1. Wow, sounds like Pammie needs to train some helpers and spead that superior customer service outside of Ann Arbor!

    Posted by: Jen | November 17, 2006
  2. This reminds me of a great quote by Martin Luther King, Jr.: “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep the streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause and say, here lives a great street sweeper who did his job well”

    Posted by: Kaite McGrew | November 21, 2006
  3. Thanks, Amy, for recommending my service! Here are my comments to add to what you wrote:
    The “ordinary” can be taught, but the “extraordinary,” though simple, is very difficult to teach. Extraordinary service comes from listening to your clients talk about their lives and discerning what their needs are. If you really listen, they will reveal their needs and wants. For example, clients of mine might say, “I never get time to take a bath anymore.” My response to this would be to surprise them by preparing the tub with candles, scented soaps, and a bath towel. Somehow, when these things are done for them, they always find time to pamper themselves. So, sometimes the extraordinary is just being thoughtful!
    I’ve used this technique in collections, sales, in housekeeping, and in my relationships with my friends and family. It’s like the old saying, “Give a penny and you will get two back.” The more you can do to make the people around you happy, the more you will get in return.

    Posted by: Pam Suino | November 28, 2006
  4. Pam, I totally agree with you. Extraordinary IS as simple as being thoughtful, but it’s odd how many people just don’t get that. Kinda sad.

    Posted by: Amy Prior | November 29, 2006

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Sunday, March 18, 2018