Put a Positive Spin on Service

By | Customer Experience, Engagement, Industry, Mission Delivery | No Comments

I’ve got a member service pet peeve. Let’s call it a a rampant “problem” in most service situations these days. And it generally occurs, but is not limited to, someone under the age of 30 providing the service.

It’s the “no problem” problem. If I am at a restaurant, and you are my server, and you bring me a glass of tea, and I say, “thank you,” and you reply, “no problem”….that’s a problem. The server saying no problem is like saying that it could have been a problem but was not a problem this time. It implies that the server does not feel particularly inconvenienced by serving you.

Now I’m not one of those cranky customers that will confront someone who says “no problem” with some curmudgeon response like, “of course it’s not a problem, remember, I’m the customer.” But I do regret the lack of training in the service sector that would teach a well-intentioned employee that how you phrase even the smallest of exchanges can make the difference between customer disappointment and customer delight.

There is the rare occasion where those providing a service might say “you’re welcome.” I can even think of a few customer service superstars who consistently reply to a thank you with “my pleasure,” or “glad to help,” or “you bet,” or even “sure thing” (think Publix, Southwest, and Chick-Fil-A.) What a psychological difference that makes! I savor those exchanges and generally give that person my business card in case they ever want a job.

Disney staff are masters of the positive spin. On a recent trip to Disney I asked a “cast member” what time the park closes. His response was, “our park is open for your pleasure until 9 pm.” That’s pretty different from “we close at 9.” Disney takes engagement a step further. Disney cast members are trained to proactively approach guests. If you look a little lost or confused, they don’t wait to see if you ask for directions, they ask “can I help you find something?” (Ummm….No….I was just thinking about how to get past that cart without my daughter seeing that Cinderella bubble blowing gun that costs $21.) Disney also has an intensive training program where cast members are cross-trained to answer questions even if it’s not about their particular job. (I’m absolutely certain that training includes specific instructions to never reply to “thank you” with “no problem.”)

For those interested in more positive spin on customer service training, our Director of Support, Matt Popinski, strongly recommends reading The Disney Way. I’d be satisfied if folks would just say “you’re welcome.”

When No Problem is a Problem

By | Customer Experience, Industry | No Comments

I’ve got a member service pet peeve. Let’s call it a a rampant “problem” in most service situations these days. And it generally occurs, but is not limited to, someone under the age of 30 providing the service.

It’s the “no problem” problem. If I am at a restaurant, and you are my server, and you bring me a glass of tea, and I say, “thank you,” and you reply, “no problem”…that’s a problem. The server saying no problem is like saying that it could have been a problem but was not a problem this time. It implies that the server does not feel particularly inconvenienced by serving you.

Now I’m not one of those cranky customers that will confront someone who says “no problem” with some curmudgeon response like, “of course it’s not a problem, remember, I’m the customer.” But I do regret the lack of training in the service sector that would teach a well-intentioned employee that how you phrase even the smallest of exchanges can make the difference between customer disappointment and customer delight.

There is the rare occasion where those providing a service might say “you’re welcome.” I can even think of a few customer service superstars who consistently reply to a thank you with “my pleasure,” or “glad to help,”or “you bet,” or even “sure thing” (think Publix, Southwest, and Chick-Fil-A.) What a psychological difference that makes! I savor those exchanges and generally give that person my business card in case they ever want a job.

Disney staff are masters of the positive spin. On a recent trip to Disney I asked a “cast member” what time the park closes. His response was, “our park is open for your pleasure until 9 pm.” That’s pretty different from “we close at 9:00.” Disney takes engagement a step further. Disney cast members are trained to proactively approach guests. If you look a little lost or confused, they don’t wait to see if you ask for directions, they ask “can I help you find something?” (Ummm….No….I was just thinking about how to get past that cart without my daughter seeing that cinderella bubble blowing gun that costs $21.) Disney also has an intensive training program where cast members are cross-trained to answer questions even if it’s not about their particular job. (I’m absolutely certain that training includes specific instructions to never reply to “thank you” with “no problem.”)

For those interested in more positive spin on customer service training, our Director of Support, Matt Popinski, strongly recommends The Disney Way. I’d be satisfied if folks would just say “you’re welcome.”

Life Lessons from the Drive-Thru

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Not false or copied; genuine; real. That’s how Webster defines authentic. Is there another word that brings more unnoticed pressure in the business world? In the world of customer service we put a lot of stock into having the right answers at the right time and rightly so. Your customers deserve correct information because they are likely paying good money for it. Let’s put a different spin on this though. Think about this: John C. Maxwell says “people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care”. For me, this has been a driving force behind building authentic relationships.

Make no mistake here. Just like everything else in life there has to be some balance. If you always have the right answer, but have no genuineness behind it then people will see through that. You’ll eventually be perceived as a person with a job that only cares about what your customers need between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM. The right answer is sometimes just the bare minimum and rarely reflects any passion to the person needing your help. Being consumed with being right leaves little room for balance. On the other hand, if you are “Mr. Personality” and people love talking to you and cutting up but you rarely deliver any value then eventually the perception will be that you have no idea what you are doing (but you sure are nice). There has to be balance. If you want to have genuine, authentic relationships then you need to know what you are talking about and you need to get to know the person you are talking with.

Steven Covey says “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply”. Whether we trying to get the most accurate answer out as quickly as possible or we are trying to find out how our customer’s weekend was – we are often forming our responses at the most inappropriate time – when the other person is talking. Believe it or not, there’s likely a lot of value on the other end of the conversation and if we are consumed with our response rather than being consumed with the person we are responding to, then we won’t have to worry about forming authentic relationships because it will never happen.

Not too long ago I went through the Chick-Fil-A drive through. I’m a weekly customer of my local Chick-Fil-A for many reasons, one of those being they have never messed my order up (and they don’t put mayo on ANYTHING by default). While placing my order I made sure to tell them that I needed lots of Chick-Fil-A sauce. Coming home with no sauce is never fun because it means I forgot to ask for it because my wife knows that Chick-Fil-A is never going to forget it. So I pull to the window, get my order and drive off. I didn’t so much as even peek in the bag because…….well, they have never given me a reason to. As I pull off I hear someone yelling “Sir…..Sir…….SIR!!!! STOP, wait just a second”. Did I forget to pay? Did I get my debit card back? Why are they yelling at me? I pulled to the curb and the drive through attendant came walking out to my truck. I rolled the window down and she dumped about 2000 packs of Chick-Fil-A sauce in my bag. “I’m so sorry sir, I completely forgot to give you this and I didn’t want you to get home and be broken hearted”. Needless to say, I was blown away.

That is what customer service is all about. She wasn’t just taking my order – she was listening to me. She didn’t just get it right, she went over the top to make sure she got it right at all costs while injecting a little personality with her “broken hearted” comment. I don’t know her name, what she likes to do in her free time, or even what kind of person she is away from work. I didn’t necessarily form an authentic relationship with her that day, but I know that she genuinely cared about doing her job the right way which meant genuinely caring about me. So take a step back today and learn a lesson from a drive-thru attendant. Listen to your customers, you might be shocked to see how fast your relationships with them turn in to something meaningful and, if you aren’t careful, authentic.