Service: The Good, the Bad and the Downright Ugly

This title is a bit of misnomer.  I have two service experiences to share, not three and instead of merely good, one is amazing.  The downright ugly description is completely true for the other scenario.

Last week, I had the opportunity to visit two very different service establishments. One was a large home renovation store  and the other was a food outlet.

Experience 1: I walked into a home renovation store prepared to spend money, as the dated 70’s bathroom in my “house with good bones” is in desperate need of an update.  One of the items on my list was a new bathroom vanity.  With flyer in hand, I headed straight to the bathroom department.  I could not find the vanity I was looking for so my second search involved looking for help.  One aisle over, two associates were in the middle of a personal conversation.  I walked up to them, waited for them to stop talking and to acknowledge me. After getting a glance but no offer of assistance,  I interrupted, showed them the flyer and asked where I could find that particular vanity.  After several “hmms” and “I’m really not sures”, one of the associates suggested that I try the flooring section and, if it wasn’t there, to look up front. I couldn’t find it in either area so I asked another associate if he knew where it was. He thought maybe it was in aisle six and if not, then I should go and check with the associates who work in the bathroom department!  It was in aisle six, but there was a reason it was inexpensive.  At that point, I was ready to walk out of the store, but curiosity got the best of me.  I walked back to where I had encountered the first two associates.  They were still in the exact same place, continuing their personal conversation!  I’m happy to report I did end up purchasing all the items on my list … from a different store.  Service experience 1 = Downright Ugly = No sale then or ever

Experience 2:  I  needed four gift cards from Subway.  I went to the nearest outlet but they didn’t have four available.  If either one of the associates from the first example had been working there, I’m pretty sure they would have told me to try somewhere else. Thankfully, they weren’t.  The associate working at Subway apologized for the inconvenience, asked me to wait and then started calling nearby Subway stores to find one that had cards.   It gets better. Not only did she find an outlet that had cards, she had them delivered to her store and then called me when they arrived.  I would have been satisfied with her providing directions to a store that could help me, but she and the associates at the other outlet “wowed” me by going the extra mile.  Service experience 2 = AMAZING = Sale and future sales.

What kinds of moments are your team members creating with their customers?  Are they pointing customers in the general direction of a needed product or are they actively helping them look?

Your associates are the face of your business.  What are their actions saying about you?  One bad service experience can and will cost you money. Can you afford that?

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