A barely lit fire feels different than a blazing bonfire, doesn’t it? The degree of warmth, the smoke blowing around it, the sparks and crackles. In some customer service situations, environmental factors like wind and rain are beyond our control, yet we can change our focus to build the fire up or keep the fire under control. The energy we apply to the situation can make all the difference.
Weak customer service can leave us feeling disappointed and chilly, while well-executed customer service burns bright and warms hearts. Being in the training business, we are especially aware of the good, bad, and ugly experiences happening every day in the service business. We believe in celebrating the good and re-training the bad.
Here are two very different reviews, from real customer experiences, that members of our team have shared, rated on a 5-star scale:
2-Star Review: ⭐⭐
I was checking out at your store last Sunday afternoon, and the cashier (Matthew) said, “How are you?” and I said, “Great, how are you?” and he responded, “I’ll be great in about 30 minutes.” I asked him why that was (although I already assumed), and he said because he was off work in 30 minutes. I asked him “Why? Don’t you like your job?” He said he “didn’t mind it”, but just couldn’t wait to clock out.
There I was, at the end of a good shopping experience, left paying a not-very-small bill at the register, which supports his employment, and he was complaining to me. It’s like he thought it was funny to confide in their customers about his dissatisfaction and boredom. I thought, “Hey! We aren’t buddies. I’m helping to pay your salary, and part of your job is to make sure I have a good experience at the store that employs you, not to lay your complaints at my feet.”
It took away from what was otherwise a perfectly good experience in your store.
Our CEO recently vacationed at a beautiful resort in North Beach Miami, Florida. She had such an outstanding experience that she was compelled to write a letter of appreciation acknowledging those staff members who brightened and fueled her customer experience.
5-star Review: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
So many to mention…happy to do so!
The reception team was very welcoming and accommodating. They had prepared our room and had it ready for an early check-in, met us with champagne and a damp towel, and were always ready and willing to help. The food and beverage manager was amazing! Very attentive, always wanting to ensure that we had a wonderful experience. Above and beyond is clearly her normal gear. On the beach, the umbrella wranglers were all very focused on our comfort and contentment at all times. We had a wonderful experience at the Chophouse for breakfast and dinner. The restaurant staff were very welcoming and attentive. The bell staff as well as everyone at the Concierge desk were terrific. Housekeeping was very quick to help us with any requests, and our room always had wonderful touches such as neatly arranging our toiletries to coiling up a cell phone cord – these little touches were noticed and appreciated. Almost without exception, everyone made my friend and I feel extremely welcome, pampered and appreciated. It was a 5 star experience for sure and we’ll absolutely be back.
Now, let’s talk about the differences between these two experiences. The primary difference is a self-centered focus versus a customer-centered focus. The young man in the first review neglected to consider how his comments might make the customer feel. Conversely, in the second story, how the customer feels appears to be all the staff could think about.
The first experience left the customer feeling cold and disconnected from the place of business while the second experience left the customer feeling warm, comfortable and ready to offer helpful, candid feedback. Which feeling do you want your customer to experience? Which scenario would inspire them to spend more time and money engaged with your business rather than your competition?