It’s a sacrifice that many of us cannot even comprehend, so I would like to say thank you to those that have given their life, have served and are still serving. My prayers are with you!
Theatre of Pain
I recently experienced two very different types of service that hold lessons we can relate to and learn from, in life and business.
A friend and I started playing racquetball and on the way to the gym I stopped by Sports Authority to try to find one of those Under Armor skull caps, the ones the athletes use that whisk away the sweat. I approached three (yes three) employees who were congregated in the same section and asked if they carried this item. The following is our exchange:
- Me: Do you carry those do rag type of skull caps by Under Armor?
- Employee one: (Puzzled) looks at employee two while saying “I don’t think so.”
- Employee two: I think we only have them during the wintertime.
- Me: I mean the ones for absorbing sweat, like the football players wear, not the winter hat kind.
- Employee Two: No response and walks away.
- Employee three: I don’t think we have them.
- Me: Okay, thanks
Even though they were pretty useless and it would have been easy to get frustrated and go somewhere else, on a hunch, I decided to go to the Under Armor section of the store to take a shot at finding it, and guess what? There it was, the skull cap I wanted selling for $14.99 on an Under Armor display rack.
Not one of the three employees thought to . . .
A: Look for it for me
B: Look for it with me
C: Send me to the Under Armor section to look myself
Instead, I did the work because they forgot the most important factor to their job, properly serving customers.
Muhammed Ali said “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” Well, if this is true then these three should be homeless!
The Pleasure Chest
Let’s look at the opposite side of the spectrum. I have been traveling to Chicago once a months for the least few months and I often use Jet Blue. Since I always return on a Friday evening I have seen the same employees working at the gate.
This past Friday as I sat down to wait for boarding I said hi to the staff, they said hello and mentioned that they see me “all the time”, I said “yes, I’m here once a month for business and always go home on a Friday.” Then . . . it happened, the one thing that drives most people crazy, my flight was delayed. It turned out the plane had been running late all day due to mechanical problems they experienced in the morning. This caused the flight to be late to every stop throughout the day, so naturally it’s late coming in to Chicago to get me. It happens, no big deal. But what happened next is a very big deal.
Jessie, one of the Jet Blue employees approached me and said “I’m going to Starbucks, would you like something?” I replied “yeah, a Chai Tea Frappe would be great!” As I reach to give him money, he said, “no no, I got it.” I was shocked and impressed, as were the people around me.
Now that is some excellent service!
Whether I was aggravated about the delay or not (which I wasn’t) what a wonderful way to treat a loyal customer while they wait.
In these two examples, was the company responsible for the behavior of the employees, or were the employees personally responsible? I’d say it falls upon the individual. Does Jet Blue train people to buy frequent flyers Starbucks? Of course not, and even though they might instill a culture of service, it’s still up to the employees to carry it out and extend themselves for the customers. Jessie soared above the rest.
Does Sports Authority teach its employees to do just enough or even less? Of course not. Those employees chose to take their jobs for granted. They chose not to care, because, we can suppose, it’s not that important to them. However the customer is most important.
Ones attitude regarding service can make or break a company.
“A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large.” ~Henry Ford
Too often the company doesn’t care about its people, and then their people don’t care about the customers, but if that’s the case, you can care. It’s your choice. Are you going above and beyond the call of duty for people you encounter or are you doing barely enough to get by? If you aren’t getting promotions, or your business is falling you may want to look at the service you are giving, because your reward will always be equal to or greater than your service.
Rock Star Success Coach & Sales Trainer