Great Service Can Bring a Customer Back

As I write this, I am sitting in my local KFC. I haven’t been here for at least a year. The service in the past was not good. Today I thought I would give them another chance and maybe get a blog post about it. I was right and in a positive way.

Here is a little background on my past experiences over the last 10 years or so. I’ve come to the drive thru on a Saturday night and it was coned off. This happened 3 times in one year. Sometimes you go through the drive thru because you want to grab food for the family but stay in sweats and a ponytail. Having to go in when you look like really shabby isn’t my ideal.

Another time, I ordered something from the drive thru and was told to pull around we will bring it around. They forgot. I was right in the first spot and finally went in after 15 minutes. I did get a free cake, but really they forgot me?

Ok last one, this is supposed to be a positive post. It was a busy night, they were clearly understaffed. (That’s why the drive was closed those other times.) The manager walked behind the counter in street clothes, takes money out of the register and leaves. I’m sure I don’t know the whole story, but perception is a big part of service. He could have helped them and the money out of the register?

Now back to tonight’s visit. The young lady that greeted me was super friendly. I knew this was going to be a good visit. They discontinued something I like but she was really sweet about it. She hit all my points: smile, eye contact, friendly, nice greeting, good cash handling, acknowledledged customers when she couldn’t get right to them, and offered extras when handing me my food.

As I sit and eat and write, another young lady takes over the register she is good too, she just misses the greeting and gets straight to “will you be dining in.” She still gets an A.

The food was good and the service was on point. I will be back. Had it not been, I would probably wait another year to come back.

Way to go ladies you changed the mind of a former disappointed customer. I won’t be sharing my bad service stories anymore. I will talk about the nice ladies and the turn around in customer service. That’s how it’s done.

Just Eat the Chocolate

Me finally making a business out of teaching people about customer service is like when you want chocolate, but you want to eat healthy, so you eat a bunch of stuff that you aren’t really satisfied with, then you end of eating the chocolate. I have come up with a bunch of  business ideas over the years. I’ve made plan after plan after plan. I have even participated in a few MLM’s. Heck, I majored in Business and specialized in Entrepreneurship with the plan to open a night club with live music. I have pretty much driven my family crazy with making grand statements about my next business venture. I’m sure at this point if I said too much before having a lot of action, they would just roll their eyes and think “not again”. 

When I look back, it wasn’t the idea of running the nightclub, making desserts, or selling card making supplies that got me excited. It was all of the ways I could make someone happy with those businesses. Trust me I wasn’t thinking about accounting processes or inventory tracking systems. I was thinking about the smiles on the little kids faces as I was making caramel apples in the window and then handing  out free samples. Ultimately, it’s about serving the customer part that lights the fire.

So it all goes back to my first job at a movie theater. I knew I was good and serving customers. I also saw other staff that could use some tips. I had drafted a customer service handbook to help, but ended up getting a professional job and not doing anything with it. So here I am. After all these years, I’m finally eating the chocolate and sharing it with you.

What’s your chocolate? Share it in the comments section.

Overpromise, under deliver, right? No? Whoops!

One of the key points in customer service is to do what you say you are going to do, when you say you are going to do it. I didn’t and I’m sorry. I let other things get in the way of my goal of sharing ways to make you a rock star at customer service. I could tell you all the reasons why, but just like a customer, you probably aren’t too concerned with why, you just want what was promised. Well, I have my act together now, so look forward to blog posts, #serviceshoutouts on Twitter, and although I’m sure the first videos will be rough, how to videos on YouTube.

 

Oh No, It’s My First Day!

Today is the day, you filled out all the paperwork online, you came in and watched some videos, now you’re all dressed and heading out to the floor. And now your mind starts spinning. “What did I get myself into? Everyone seems nice, but what if no one likes me? What if I make a bunch of mistakes? There is so much I don’t know. Oh my god, this place is narrow! I’m either going to fall on the grill or put my hand in the french fryer! All that and I have to talk to customers and make change?” Ok, breathe! Stop, it’s only been 2 minutes. Here are some things to make it all go easier and score some points with the boss along the way.

First, step back, hopefully your first job is at a place you are familiar with. You have seen some of these people in action and you are familiar with the product. So smile, say hi, and introduce yourself to everyone you meet. Now, follow your trainer, listen with an open mind (sometimes we are told what to do and it doesn’t seem right), and ask questions when you don’t understand.  

So you have been working for a half hour and all of a sudden you start hearing, “No it goes over there.”  “You want to put the handle all the way up.” I know what you are thinking. “ Oh no, I making mistakes.” Yes, but no. Yes you are doing it wrong, but no, you aren’t in trouble, you are being corrected. There is a big difference, and your success is all in the way you handle it:

Do – Listen, learn, and remember for next time.

Do – Ask questions and make sure you understand what to do.

Don’t  – Take it personal, get defensive with the person that corrected you, or overthink and get into that mistake mind cycle.

Don’t – Ignore the correction, because you think you know better, or complain the person is picking on you.

This is really important to understand. Being corrected is part of how you learn.  Keep being corrected for the same thing over and over, then you will be in trouble.

Ok, you finished what you were told to do, now what? Well don’t just stand there! Look and see if there is something obvious, like picking stuff up off the floor or restocking an item? Nothing? GO ASK! Don’t wait to be told what to do next, ask. Ask the worker next to you or ask a supervisor. Don’t be that guy that just stands there not helping the team.

As the shift goes on, work hard, keep busy, smile, ask questions, and keep learning. Now you know you should be off in a few minutes, but you are in the middle of something. Don’t worry, your supervisor knows when you should be off. They also know what staff coverage they need. Unless you are directed to do so, don’t just walk over and clock out. If it’s busy, your supervisor, might need you for just a little longer and might be too busy to talk to you about staying.

All right, the shift is over, now what? If you have a locker, put your name tag, hat, apron, or whatever in your locker and go home. No locker, put your name tag or apron in a safe place so you know where it will be for your next shift. Don’t be Debbie. After my first shift, I didn’t have a locker yet, so I put my name tag in a safe place in my purse. I didn’t want to lose it. Flash forward to shift two. I couldn’t remember where I put my name tag. I had to ask my new boss for another one. They had fun teasing me about that. I found it in my purse pocket weeks later! Ok, now all your uniform pieces are in a safe place, go home, and tell your family about your first day.

As a side note, if you work in a restaurant or someplace where your shoes will get really dirty, change them before you get in the car or at minimum, don’t wear them in your house. You will score lots of points with your mom if you don’t track grease and ketchup on her floors.  

I would love hear about your first day in the comments. 

 

It Starts with a Smile – Customer Service Basics – Step 1

All good customer service starts with a smile. A smile relaxes people. It also lets customers know you are there to help. It will make your job a lot easier too.

A smile puts you and your customer in a better frame of mind. Have you ever come to work not feeling well, frustrated with your job, tired, or worse, hungover? If you project those feelings to your customers, you just made your rough day 100 times harder.

Imagine the last time you went to buy lunch and the person behind the counter just didn’t seem to care. What happened? Did you instantly start thinking, “this isn’t going to go well, they obviously don’t want to be here.” Most likely because of the way they appeared, you might have been critical of their service before they even started. Did they get your order right? Did they do it as fast as you would have liked?  Do you want your customer starting off critical of you? Nope!

Now think of the time you were greeted with a warm genuine smile. I’m sure you felt much more comfortable. So make your life easier, as a person is walking up to you or before you pick up the phone, relax and smile. Yes, a smile can be felt across the phone, it comes across to the customer in the tone of your voice. Not really into it that day, well I am going to use the old cliché “fake ‘till you make it.”  Try it and let me know in the comments how much easier things go.