Sunday, October 19, 2008

"No Problem" Can Be A Problem

Yesterday, I had an interesting phone interaction with a front line retail employee. The day before I ordered some books online - all of which were listed as "in stock". I had received an email notification that some were not yet sent and I was concerned that they weren't going to arrive by the time I needed them.

After calling to follow up and rectify the situation, I thanked her for her efforts and she replied "No problem." Although I didn't say anything to her directly, I immediately thought: "Actually, the reason I called you was because there WAS a problem - and even if serving me was a problem, as the customer, I'd prefer to hear something akin to a Ritz-Carlton or Chick-fil-A response of "My pleasure". This would've taken my focus away from the problem (undermines loyalty) and focused it on the nature of our business interaction (relationships build loyalty.)

Details like these "throw-away comments" - especially when they are a first or last impression - either add to or take away from the customer-company relationship. And in these difficult times, no one can afford to carelessly undermine that relationship...especially when all it takes is a quick awareness/training effort to ensure all front line employees get it. If employees don't "get it" (understand), then the customer won't "get it" (a good experience), and in the end, the bottom line won't "get it" (financial benefit) either.

Think about it...but more importantly, act on

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Customer is NOT "Always Right"!

One common quote regurgitated frequently in training circles is the classic "The Customer is always right"! What moron came up with THAT lie? More importantly, what imbeciles keep repeating it?

Anyone who spends any kind of time in the real world knows that Customers are NOT always right. This attitude creates an unhealthy bi-polar situation: if the Customer is always right, and there's a disagreement (with the Employee), then who is wrong? The Employee! Not exactly an environment that anyone I know would want to work in. NO one is going to get excited to come to work every day so they can be wrong!

Like anyone else, Customers are people. People aren't perfect and they certainly aren't always right - but, as people, we ALL deserve respect. I like Disney's more enlightened opinion: "The Guest may not always be right, but they are always the Guest - and if they're wrong, they must be wrong with dignity!"

Imagine: a company rooted in fantasy operating in the real world. How refreshing!

Think about it...but more importantly, act on!