What Did He Mean?

One of the best parts of my job is having the opportunity to see many different places and meet many interesting people. One of the realities of my job is that I must endure the rigors of travel in order to do so. Along this path, I witness a variety of attitudes that are allowed to pass for customer service. Allow me to share one with you that we can all learn from.

This past week I was renting a car from “XYZ Car Rental” (name changed to protect the innocent). A young man wearing an “XYZ” hat and an “XYZ” shirt escorted me to the assigned vehicle and proceeded to explain that we needed to do a walk around to inspect for any previous damage. So far, so good. He looked the part and was being conversant.

I casually mentioned that I understood the process, as I was a frequent customer. He then inquired, “You rent cars from “XYZ” nearly every week? Boy that must really suck!” I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. What did he mean? That the “XYZ” experience was sub-standard or that it must suck to be me? Worse yet- what if both applied?

The lesson here is that while “XYZ” dressed him up and taught him the processes, they clearly had spent no time explaining the art of being empathetic and grateful with a customer. A simple “that sounds interesting” or “we appreciate your loyalty” would have given the process an entirely different feel.

How many times has your staff told a customer something like “I know that it will be a pain to move everything out of your pantry” or, “it’s a shame that you have to waste a vacation day just to have a floor installed”?

This could never happen at your store, right? Make sure that you train the value of correct responses to your staff members on an ongoing basis. It only takes one unintended remark to offset having spent thousands of dollars of advertising promoting the virtues of buying from your company.

Tom Jennings

Wednesday, August 8, 2012