Archive for the 'customer service' Category

It’s not my job

I was sitting at our local Panera last week at a booth right next to the soft drinks. It’s not really a clutch spot for an uninterrupted lunch, but if I hadn’t been there I wouldn’t have noticed a very interesting trend. There is a floor mat right under the drinks, and the corners kept getting kicked up by the customers. Every couple minutes an employee that walked by would reach down and flip the corner back down. This probably happened three times while we sat there.

The next time it was kicked up, a manager was the next employee to walk by, he reached down and pulled the mat back towards him to flatten it out, and the rest of the time we were there, it didn’t get kicked up again.

After I saw the manager react differently to the situation, it brought to my mind a post on Brains on Fire blog, “How well do you do not my job“.  In their excellent post, it brings up the question, how well do you do the things that aren’t explicitly “your” job, i.e. out of your job description.  At Panera it was the manager who did “not my job” well.  I’d venture to say that in todays world, companies that are full of people who act, even when it is not within their official job to act will come out ahead of those who don’t.  People who work with this mindset will in most cases care for the customer better.

Who is it at your company?  Is it you?

Check out their post, have it rock your world.

Have a great day.


What an experience

I just got off the phone with a customer service rep. Now, prepared to be shocked.


Yes, it was that good. I’ve been searching around for a new bank account and a friend mentioned ING Direct. It turns out they offer 4.5% APY on savings accounts, which is a lot better then what I was getting at US Bank. What’s important here was the service. I was trying to set my new account up with my direct deposit and I just couldn’t find the information I needed online. (I know it’s there too because I’ve seen it before, so frustrating)

So as a latch ditch effort I called the 1800INGDIRECT (1-800-464-94198[2]) and was anticipating being on the phone for 15 minutes or so before I was helped, or at the minimum legions of menus for me to go through so could “route my call to the correct representative”. The phone rang once, and then a very cherry voice greeted me and thanked me for calling and asked what she could help me with. ONE RING (that alone blew my mind) I asked my question and she took verified that I was a customer which is normally pretty boring and long but she was very quick and friendly about walking me through the correct steps. What impressed me the most, was not her friendliness (although important), nor her efficiency (though she was) it was the fact she was human. Yep, human. She didn’t sound like she was part of a scripted process, she even mentioned that a lot of people call in to get the information I was requesting. In making the process real, in responding like a person, I felt like one when I was done. She was pleasant to work with, and it was a great experience. I won’t hesitate to call back. You shouldn’t either.

So this begs the question, what are the crucial elements to great customer service?

Have a great day everyone.

four little words

I saw Seth Godin’s post on apologies, which jogged my memory about an experience I had. Recently my family and I went out to dinner. We normally go to a play, and dinner but because of some time factors we could only work out dinner this time

So we chose to go to dinner at the Melting Pot. Which is a fabulous fondue restaurant if you haven’t ever been. It’s somewhat of a dinner and event rolled into one, since you’re actually cooking your own food. Plus, you get your own colorful fondue skewers. It can’t be beat.

It really was a great experience with a couple courses of food and fondue combos. Our server was excellent, part entertainer with great service. Until we got to dessert. They were out of dark chocolate, unfortunate since about half of the dessert options use dark chocolate. We just substituted milk chocolate and moved on with life.

The manager came around and asked how our meal was, we responded “great, except you’re out of dark chocolate” his response was classic, and ultimately ruined part of the dinner for me.

“It’s not our fault.”

According to Yehuda’s list (which Seth linked to) this is a 2. Out of 10. Next to last on the options when apologizing. Now please allow me to rave for a moment. In a zero-sum world, it’s someone’s fault. The truck may have been late, or the order bad, or whatever but when it’s between your fault, and my fault, it’s ultimately your fault. Not that the chocolate isn’t in, but that you’re not giving me the experience I expect (and paid for).

This is also a botched chance to take a bad situation and make it spectacular. What if, instead of, “it’s not our fault” it’s “we are going to give you free dessert because we messed up” or “come back for a dessert course next week, on us” or really any other sentence choice other than, “it’s not our fault.” If I was the Melting Pot, I’d rather have positive chatter about the experience and create a happy customer, even at a higher short-term cost, because in the long-term I’ll come back, and spend more money and with an product like the Melting Pot I’ll go with my friends, and they’ll spend money and have a good time.

Next time, maybe his words should be, “I’m sorry, how can I fix this?” Ok, so that’s seven words. But at least I’d tell my friends about the GREAT experience.

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