Ok, it’s no secret, but sometimes I just have to lick something and that something is ….icecream. We have a range of shops and deli’s in Holt and so we’re pretty well served on the icecream stakes. We can do better than an orange Mivvy or a tub of something yellow and waxy, as per Walls c.1975. Oh, I remember that they made both icecream and sausages…what an obvious product combination. There was probably more of an overlap in ingredients than I care to imagine too.
The point of this happy rambling is to tee up the story which I will now tell. As is my habit I sometimes head out of the office for a tub of something cold and soft. A week ago I ambled into a shop, that had served me well the week before, and striding up to the counter I smiled and said:
‘Ah hello, can I have scoop of maple and walnut with one of those crispy thingies please?’
‘No. You can’t,’ and the assistant handed me a tub containing just icecream.
‘But I had a crispy thingy last week!’
‘No, they’re only for people eating in, not for take aways.’
‘But the other lady gave me some….’
‘No! That will be £1.80.’
I paid up and wandered out of the shop. Should I have made a scene and asked to see the manager? It seemed a trifle petty to haggle over a crispy thingy, worth all of 2p, but I did feel cheated because the week before I had ordered a couple of scoops and the assistant had given me a variety of crispy things. I was delighted and vowed to make the shop my icecream-stop of choice. But oh not any more. How cruelly I had been deceived and now how let down I felt. They weren’t interested in delighting their newest customer; they didn’t even listen to him.
People Have Emotions
My delight from week one turned to disappointment in week two as I felt they were charging a premuim, but now only supplying a standard product. Added to the fact that I wasn’t listened to, it made me wonder how customer loyalty has to be maintained at all times. People all have emotions and being told you’re wrong in a shop full of old ladies, with flapping jug ears, was not a great experience. The child side of me (we all have one) felt hard done by and so and in the best tradition of people who get poor service, I told everyone I met about the lack of crispy things at that particular shop.
What Happened Next…
It was hot this week (you might have noticed), so I decided to give the shop one more chance, in the spirit of consumer testing. This time I marched in and without hesitation asked for:
‘A scoop of maple and walnut and a scoop of creme brulee and a wafer please!’ Ha! I was full of technical jargon this week!
‘Of course’, said the assistant, with a smile.
‘Were you the lady who served me last week?’ I asked
‘Yes’, she sighed, ‘I thought you had asked for sprinkles!’
Choose Your Moral
She did give me a wafer, although her colleague had given me three, but I wondered as I licked, what the moral of the story is. Perhaps it means that you have to know what to ask for to get good service? Perhaps you have to ask for three wafers in life, if you want three? Maybe it’s about making sure your staff know what the product is and have authority to do that little bit extra to delight the customer? Or, it could be that if you’re serving someone you have to listen to them and help them to articulate what it is they want. Guessing, or just saying ‘no’ isn’t going to win you many new customers.
You can decided what great customer service means to you. I’m off to get licking, because today is my birthday (5th July) and I love birthdays, so it could be a three scoop day… (Happy birthday to you too if this is your special day as well).
Our Task For This Week
If we have a new project, or customer, or team meeting perhaps ask ourselves how we can delight those present? We might buy them a cake, or finish the meeting on time, or stroke people a bit more for their efforts. Whatever we do, we can all provide people with excellent customer service and feel good about doing it.
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Thank you for reading to the end and remember to eat some icecream if you’re in need of a treat in the hot weather…
Next week is a brief introduction to the Child Ego State…which is part of the next series of blogs about Transactional Analysis.