A few months ago I had the urge to put some of my thoughts on paper. This came about after returning from a trip to the Walt Disney World Resort in central Florida. Sure, I enjoyed the rides, and the music, and the food, and the shows. But it was something that a Cast Member said that really stuck with me. At the last moment, we decided we wanted to go out for dinner so I headed off to the concierge desk to check on available dining locations.
When I approached the desk, the Cast Member (CM) motioned me over to his station. I told him that we didn't have any plans for dinner and being late in the afternoon, I asked if he could help me with some last-minute reservations. He said, "Of course!" That's it. That's all he said that impressed me. He went on and found us an available seating at Chefs de France. But it was the attitude the CM had that struck me the most. It was an attitude of why-of-course-I-can-help-you-why-wouldn't-you-think-I-couldn't-help-you. Although he never said it, that was the message conveyed. At no time during the experience did I ever think the word "No" was going to come out of his mouth.
This got me thinking about customer service in general. Working in retail, we often come across people who make up elaborate stories in order to get their way. Sometimes customers who need to return a product will fabricate a wild story instead of just telling the truth. For whatever reason, they seem to be afraid to tell the truth. Why is that? Other than the obvious moral implications, have we in retail created an environment where customers expect an attitude of "cannot" rather than "can-do"? I believe we have. Customers are compelled to lie and cheat in order to get what they want.
So, what can we do?
We CAN offer customers a clean, inviting store neatly arranged as to provide a pleasant shopping experience.
We CAN turn a customer's unpleasant experience at another store into a delightful experience at our store so that customers will go out of their way to shop with us!
We CAN go out of our way to find the answer to a customer's question.
We CAN go out of our way to fill a customer's request at the best price in the shortest amount of time.
Because of mediocre (at best) service that is a common characteristic of most businesses, customers often expect a negative response when a customer service issue arises. I say, not any more. Not on my watch. We can DO it!