January 22, 2014
As I was leaving the convention auditorium after delivering a keynote on building customer loyalty, a woman from the audience approached me. She said, “I think employees who actually choose to deliver poor service are losers. I’ve got a story I want to share with you. Do you have a few minutes?”
I was in a bit of hurry and I must admit that I thought I was going to hear yet another customer service story where a person would tell me all about the terrible service she had received from some business. People share these with me all the time. But, I didn’t want to be rude, so we sat down to chat, and I was happily surprised when she said, “Delivering great customer service made me a winner!”
She told me that she had been working at a well-known coffee shop for a couple of years while attending college part-time. One morning, one of the regular customers asked if he could speak with her during her break. He told her he would get some work done and wait until that was possible. When she finally had time to sit down with this gentleman, she was nervous because she had no idea why he wanted to talk to her.
He proceeded to tell her that he came in almost every day to order coffee, and for a long time he had been observing her great work ethic. He was particularly impressed by the way she treated the customers. She seemed to remember everyone’s names and preferences. She greeted each co-worker and customer with a smile, even on busy, stressful days. At times, when a customer was rude or angry about something, he noticed how she maintained her composure and showed empathy for the customer’s concerns, no matter how unreasonable they seemed—the sign of a true professional.
He went on to tell her that he was the CEO of a large technology company and he offered her a marketing manager position in his company, at a salary that far exceeded her current salary. She explained that she did not have a college degree in marketing. He said that didn’t matter to him because it was clear that she knew the value of exceptional customer service and understood that it is the best marketing any company can have. He wanted her to train his other employees. After thinking it over for a few days, she gratefully accepted the position and went on to be very successful at that company.
Her story was a great reminder that delivering exceptional customer service is a choice. Employees can choose to be winners or losers in their jobs. They are on stage every time they interact with a customer or co-worker. Every interaction is an opportunity to either build or damage their personal and professional credibility. After all, one never knows who is watching!
When an employee chooses to deliver poor customer service, they lose on so many levels. They lose out on the opportunity to:
It’s important to understand the vital nature of respecting and supporting your customers. These are people who depend on you to communicate with integrity. Your attitude, demeanor and commitment are keys to providing exceptional customer service! When you focus on building customer loyalty, your co-workers and customers will recognize you as a true professional who genuinely cares about quality. No, it’s not always easy—but it certainly can be rewarding and fulfilling, both emotionally and financially!