The Lemonade Boy who Listened – 3 Lessons in Customer Service

A decade ago, ‘customer interaction’ meant very little.
The little kid with the lemonade stand just had to place his table on the right intersection, make enough lemonade and price it right to reap his riches.

Conversations with customers would, in most cases, be a muffled grunt or an excuse to tender exact change. And when the kids from across the block started competing, our lemonade kid just had to slash his prices. If he could get his lemons cheaper than everyone else there was just no stopping him. And he could always add a little bit more water. After all, who would notice?

Except his customers, of course. And our little man realized that if he wanted to stay in business, he had to start listening.
And listen he did. It was as simple as placing a fish bowl & a notepad on his stand for customers to drop their feedback. Every night, the lemonade boy spent an hour reading all the feedback and responding to them. And as he grew (and his business expanded to the parking lot), customers started flocking to him. Not because the lemonade was cheaper or even better than everybody else, but because they believed in the Lemonade Boy who Listened.

So what was that really big deal that turned the little kid with watery lemonade into the Lemonade Boy who Listened?

Lesson 1 – Make it easy for customers to talk to you

The Lemonade boy had a fishbowl and a notepad. The customers did not need to bring anything, except themselves. Ask yourself this – How easy is it for your customers to talk to you? If the answer is ‘very easy’, you are in a good place and should treat yourself to a lemonade.

But if you need your customers to bring their pens and paper, its time you got yourself a fish bowl. Now!

Lesson 2 – Listen, act and show them that you listen

At first, there were just a couple of letters, some nice and some nasty. As the days rolled by, the fishbowl had to get refreshed thrice every day. But the lemonade boy still listened – he committed himself to going through every feedback, and acting on it. And if the backlog ever piled up, he spent his nights and weekends clearing them up. Now, if you are still able to keep your fishbowl consistently clean for the next day, kudos.

But if the backlog is piling up you better put on reading glasses, because your customers know when you aren’t listening to what they say.

Lesson 3 – Be honest. Good lemonade is all about personality

The girl from the red brick house three blocks away felt the portions were too small. The lemonade boy wrote back telling her the quality and poetic elegance that goes into every cup. And, the next day, he showed her exactly what went into making that one portion of freshly squeezed lemonade. Today, the Lemonade Boy’s lemonade is no longer a drink. It is a story that every customer wants to relate to.

Your support is the brand that your customers directly relate to. Break away the monotony and drive a personality in every cup of lemonade you serve.

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  • http://twitter.com/2sks Santhosh Srinivasan

    Nice read. Simple, but it does convey the message!

  • http://www.neteffects.com.au/helpdesk help desk

    Being open with criticism on how to improve your business is very important.  Customers want to be heard all the time, so make sure to lend those ears of yours anytime and anywhere.