Insights & Ideas

A Tale of Two Customer Service Experiences

When was the last time you experienced great customer service?  I’m talking about the type that amazes you and makes you smile?  Perhaps we get so numbed by poor to average service that when someone does something nice, it’s like a lightning bolt.  Great service is memorable and wins customers.  Allow me to share two quick stories.

There’s a cool shop in East Cobb near my office.  It’s a mixture of home decorating, jewelry, furniture and stuff that draws a steady crowd of women looking for that perfect gift.  And they gift wrap!   I can always find something I want to buy.

Image of neon welcome sign

But I don’t go in anymore because their customer service is appalling.  Every time I have ever shopped there, I stand at the register for at least 5 minutes while the employees talk to each other and completely ignore me.  They seem to enjoy each other’s company immensely.  No amount of shuffling or flinty-eyed stares from me can get their attention.  When someone finally arrives to take my money, they zip back to their conversation as quickly as possible.

The incident that finally weaned me from my shopping addiction was when I purchased 15 small items for a mentoring session with college students.  I wanted them to have a small memento of our evening together.  When I asked that the items be wrapped, the cashier told me they didn’t wrap anything under $10.  But I had purchased 15 items.  No dice.  But it says free gift wrapping.  Sorry.  But she did throw some gift bags toward me and said I could do it myself. It still frosts me to think about it.  I realized that if I continued to shop there, I had no one but myself to blame. I never went back.

Contrast that with the experience I had on Thanksgiving Day at a Popeyes restaurant in Alpharetta.  I went there to pick up a Cajun-seasoned turkey they fried for me on the spot. (It was delicious!)  The manager was at the counter to greet me.  The cashier asked me about my Thanksgiving plans and told me how much I would enjoy that turkey.  A young man came from the back to carry the turkey to my car, even though it was drizzling and cold outside.  He waved goodbye as I left the parking lot.

That team was working on Thanksgiving Day, having a good time and wanting me to do the same.  They were proud of their food and took the time to make sure I had a great experience.  I was so grateful to them when I left that I’ll definitely go back there, and tell everyone I know about the experience.  I wish I had thought to take a photo of them—and the turkey– to post to social media.

No matter what your product, your employees are the face of your company to customers.  A fantastic customer service experience, or a poor one, will cement a memory.  You can be sure if your competitors offer better, more personal service, they’ll ultimately win your business.

What do you think? Share your story with Maureen: