On a recent trip back from New Jersey, I ended up at the
Charlotte Airport. Having consumed a liter of water, I needed to find the
bathroom once I got off the plane. Little did I know that I was walking into a
public bathroom with an attendant who proudly proclaimed:
“Welcome to my very clean bathroom. I keep it nice and clean for you. How can I
He said it seven times during the course of my visit. Over
and over and over and over and over and over again. Truth be told, I didn't know if I should laugh or cry.
With a tip jar on the counter surrounded by free hits of Listerine
and some hard candies, I understand that this gentleman was trying to encourage
people to tip him for keeping the bathroom clean and handing me a paper towel
to dry my hands.
But I feel like this was taking customer service a bit too
far. It felt odd and inappropriate to be hear his announcement repeated
several times as I used the restroom.
I don’t begrudge the man.
What I do question is why the airport feels the need to have a person in
that room for hours on end in what felt like panhandling. Why not pay him a better wage.
Charlotte Airport believe this is where I want an improved customer experienced?
want a clean bathroom. No, I don’t need someone telling me this seven times
during my visit to the urinal. And his insistence on repeating the same message over and over was annoying not welcoming. Others in the room all looked around as if to ask, are we on Candid Camera?
A few days later, I needed a few things from the drug store. I have two
choices, the Rite Aid or the Walgreens.
I avoid the Rite Aid because every time I enter, the cashier calls out, “Welcome
to Rite Aid” in the most disingenuous voice possible. It is as if she is saying, my boss makes me
say this. It was not authentic; it was off-putting and worst of all it was not
how human beings interact.
Hey Mr. Rite
Aid, don’t tell the cashier what to say. Just make sure she makes people feel
welcomed in an honest and sincere fashion.
You are Welcomed
If you run a retail store or an online call center, how do you train
your customer service people to be human beings and not automatons? Someone I
know who does this for a living says he has a few simple rules when he hires people for
these types of jobs:
- Are they already friendly?
- Are they naturally outgoing and comfortable with strangers?
- Do they make you feel uncomfortable or weird?
- Are they overbearingly polite?
It is hard to train people to become friendly, outgoing and natural in
conversation. But it helps if you can
start with someone who understand that their job is the so important because it
is the welcome and smiling face that greets you when you begin your engagement
with their brand. It is so important yet often the person doing this isn’t
well-paid or encouraged to be themselves.
One company that has figured this out is Whole Foods. I always feel a
significantly different welcome from their cashiers than at Harris Teeter, Food
Lion or other traditional grocery chains. They take time to find people who are
not identical. They hire people who are genuine and authentic in how
they approach customers. It rarely feels
forced. It almost always feels, well – natural.
Ace Hardware is another company that gets it. When I walk in
the door, they have a person greet me and escort me to the aisle where they stock
that special thing I need. They are helpful which is really what I care about
most. I’m not a curmudgeon but I’m not there to chat. I want help finding what
I need and I want to get in and out quickly. I don't like cloying, insincere greetings but I do like helpful hardware men (and women).
How are you greeting your customers when they engage with
your brand? What type of training does everyone at the front lines get and does
it live up to the standards you have set?
Cartoon courtesy of www.TwistedPeel.com Please visit their site for more laughs.
For the best customer service on the planet, visit my 87 year old Mom Bea who is shown here making whitefish salad for the holidays. (the video
on Youtube has the full recipe and is guaranteed to make you smile).
Looking for some marketing coaching
? Check out this link on Clarity
where you can learn more.
Labels: Ace Hardware, Charlotte Airport, customer disservice, customer service, Marketing Moments, Rite Aid, Whole Foods