Archive for the 'Customer Experiences' Category

Customer Service

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

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1st Class Treatment

My father told me, “There’s two rules in business; Rule #1; The Customer is always right. Rule #2; When that’s not the case, refer to Rule #1″  

I’ve been a vegetarian for more than 55 years and have done a lot of flying in that time. I have always found the flight staff to be accommodating, even when their regular menu didn’t have any vegetarian options. That is until when on an Alaska Airlines flight 851 from Seattle to Honolulu on 8/31, 2017 in the First Class cabin I encountered Sandra.

Sandra was coldly “tossing out” menus void of any personality or eye contact. I took a quick look and said, “Excuse me but what do you have that’s vegetarian?” She flatly said, “We don’t have anything vegetarian.” I handed the menu back to her and said, “Well I guess that I won’t eat.” She took the menu, said nothing and walked away. I was shocked.

A few moments later I stopped Nora, the more senior flight attendant, and asked her the same question. She squatted down to my level, made eye contact and said, “We don’t have any vegetarian options, but as a first class passenger I can surely put together a salad and some other things for you.”

Customer service is a people thing.

When Sandra reappeared to take drink orders I told her that Nora offered to put something together for me. She snapped, “Nora works in the back, I’m in the 1st Class cabin.” I bit my tongue so as not to say, “But you don’t have a 1st Class attitude.” She said that she has everything I need up front and that she would put something together for me. I then said, “That’s what you should have said initially.” She apologized and said that a lot of customers get really upset that there isn’t any vegetarian options on the menu. I said, “That’s the airline’s mistake, your approach to dealing with it is yours.” She apologized again and said that she will fix me something. I told that I would rather Nora did. Hey, I don’t want Amy spit in my salad! Right? 

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A few minutes later Nora showed up with more food than I could possibly eat. The guy sitting next to me said, “Wow, that looks great, how did you get that?” This led to a discussion about what I do and what we should all be able to expect from the people serving us; the customers.  Imagine how many people will hear this story from me at future Success Rallies. Sandra was very nice the rest of the flight eager to get me anything I wanted. It’s too bad that she needed a reminder to be nice and helpful.

Speedo? Really?

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

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To Sell Them; Stock Them!

I have been eager to minimize water resistance when swimming laps. I encountered snickers, chuckles and eye rolls as I approached salespeople in Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, ROSS, and even Walmart asking for Speedo style swim trunks. I found them at Amazon, but having never worn them before, I wasn’t sure of my size. I returned to ROSS looking for an alternative, and in my search found the only pair of Speedo trunks in the store (maybe in Hawaii) hiding among all of the other swim trunks. I tried them on, bought them and had a great swim in them this morning. 

Going the Extra 5,000 Miles

Sunday, June 11th, 2017

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Rapport Racing Over the Rockies

When I was a fledgling businessman in the ’60s I read a great book; MINDING THE STORE by Stanley Marcus; founder of Nieman Marcus. He tells a story about being the only person in his Dallas headquarters early one Sunday morning. He was there catching up on mail when the phone rang. Some people in his position would not pick up the phone, but he did.

There was a woman on then other end calling from Houston who was furious that the dishes she ordered did not arrive, and that she had guests coming for a dinner party that afternoon.

What did Stanley Marcus do? 

He put a duplicate order in his car and drove the 240 miles to Houston (four hours away) and delivered her dishes personally in time for her dinner party. Needless to say, she became a customer for life. That’s Service!

 

I received an e-mail this morning (Sunday) from Peter Skaaning in Beverly Hills. Peter is the owner of Rapport International Furniture. He said that he got an irate call from a customer in Wisconsin, 2,500 miles away saying that her furniture had not arrived and that she needed it NOW! 

What did Peter Skaaning do?

In his e-mail he said that he asked himself, “What would Ron do? He said that the answer came immediately. He packed a duplicate order in the company truck along with two of his delivery employees and sent them off to Wisconsin (5,000 miles round-trip) with instructions to “Make this Customer Happy.” I’m certain that they will, and that this little “mistake” will generate a customer for life, 2,500 miles away. 

 

There’s a chapter in SUCCESS MADE EASY titled STUFF HAPPENS. Yes, I cleaned it up a little for the book. The point is that “Stuff” happens to everyone, and it’s what you do with it that determines the outcome much more than the “stuff” itself.

 

Customer Service Story

Thursday, November 24th, 2016

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I went to my computer this morning and began my ritual of deleting junk e-mail on-line before bringing it into my computer. One of my many servers (Aloha.net) had a pop-up saying, “E-Mail Not Available.” I went to their website to see if there was a notice of some sort, and saw a posting that e-mail and website hosting had been discontinued. I was irritated that I knew nothing about this.
I saw a phone number listed so I called it expecting that this being Thanksgiving Day, I would get a recording.

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I was surprised when a man answered the phone. I asked him what the problem is. He asked me for my e-mail address and then to hold on while he checked. When he returned to the line he said, “That account has been discontinued due to a past due bill.” I told him that they charge my credit card automatically every month and have done so for many years. Once again he asked me to hold on, and when he returned he said that all “dial-up” service has been discontinued.

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This was my first e-mail account and when starting 16 years ago I used dial up; didn’t everybody back then? It’s hard to even imagine doing that today.

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Not long after after that I started adding different e-mail addresses and got WIFI.  He explained that he could “Get me back on-line” and what the cost would be. I agreed to that, and within a matter of minutes all was okay.

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While I was irritated about this at first, I do understand that 16 years of internet evolution as well as my own has created a new and quite impressive cyber world.  I am totally impressed that they took my call on Thanksgiving Day and handled the situation so professionally.

Hot Dog Story

Monday, August 29th, 2016

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Self Fulfilling Prophecy
This is an old but very telling story that a friend sent to me a while back.

Once there was a man who owned a hot dog stand that he ran by the side of the road. For years he treated his customer’s right, sold good quality hot dogs to lots of people who stopped by to purchase from him. He even made enough money to send his son to college. He wanted his son to be an educated man and successful in the world. So his son went away to college and several years later he returned with his diploma in hand. The man was very pleased to have an educated son who could help him in his business.

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Educated Logic
The next day his son heard him placing his order for hot dogs and commented that he was surprised that he would order so many hot dogs and said, “Dad, haven’t you heard that there is a recession going on?” The man thought about this and concluded that his son had a college education and must know what he was talking about so he cut back his order for hot dogs. People continued to stop at the hot dog stand, but by rush hour the man had run out of hot dogs. He had to turn customers away. After a few times of stopping by and finding the man out of hot dogs his regular customers stopped coming by. This continued for a while and less and less people stopped to buy hot dogs.

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Smart Kid
The man’s income dropped to the point that he could not pay his bills and he went out of business. From this the man concluded; “My son must be right, there is a recession going on!”

Staying Charged

Saturday, July 9th, 2016

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Prepared, but…
Over the years I have accumulated numerous devises to be sure that my iPhone and iPad are full charged regardless of where I am. When in town I use a charger in the cigarette lighter in my car. When traveling I take along one or more of these other devices so that I can work on the go.
As I stepped off of the plane on Maui the other day I realized that I was without any of my charging devices. I wasn’t panicked since I was only going to be there for a few hours. I rented my car and then turned off my phone to conserve energy. A couple of blocks outside of the airport I spotted a Kmart. I can’t recall the last time I was in a Kmart store. It was only 7 AM, but I saw people going in so I decided to see if they sell iPhone chargers that are fully charged.
Upon entering the store I saw three employees chatting with each other by the register. I excused myself and asked where the electronics department is. One of them pointed over her shoulder and coldly said, “In the back of the store.” I found the department okay, but there was nobody there to assist me. I walked around the store until I found an employee, and asked her if she is familiar with iPhone chargers. She said, “No, but maybe I can find someone who is.” She got on her phone, but was unable to reach anyone. I asked her if there’s a Walmart nearby and she said, “Yes, right down there” as she pointed away from herself. I went to the front door and found another employee outside smoking. I asked him where the Walmart store is and he said, “On Dairy Road right past Starbucks.”

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“Hey Siri”
I picked up my phone and said, “Hey Siri, where’s the closest Walmart?” She immediately pulled up a map and proceeded to give me turn-by-turn directions to the store. I was greeted at the door, and when I asked where the electronics area is, the employee asked me what I am looking for. I told him what I need and he said, “Right this way, follow me.” Upon arriving at the right department he explained the differences between the myriad of charging devices available.

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I said, “I want the best one.” He immediately unlocked the showcase, removed this one, unpackaged it, and showed me that it is fully charged and that it has the capability of charging my iPhone and iPad both at the same time. I said, “Sold.” He took my credit card and escorted me to the register where he promptly and efficiently processed the sale.

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SERVICE SELLS
As I drove off towards Lahaina I couldn’t help but think that Kmart could have had that sale, and that they don’t even know (or care) that they missed it. Sam Walton would be proud. If anybody out there knows Walter Lott, please send this on to him.

PS: I never needed to use it, but surely will one day.

Whose Job Is It?

Saturday, May 30th, 2015

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“It’s Not My Job”
Have you ever had that thought, or even worse, said it? Today’s job specialization and job descriptions have created a void in responsibility.
Everyone at Disneyland shares the same job title. Secretaries, ride operators, janitors and executives are all, “Cast Members.” That title alone sends the message to everyone that they are part of a team.
Executives will occasionally walk through the park and intentionally drop a small piece of paper or gum wrapper on the ground, and then see how long it takes before some “Cast Member” picks it up and puts it in a trash container. I’ve heard that it’s a matter of minutes, or even seconds is all. While there are janitors throughout the park, there’s a greater likelihood that someone else will see it first.

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For Example:
I wonder how many employees walked past this scene and how many customers saw it as their 1st impression upon entering the store. I am sure that somewhere high enough up in the company there is a person who would “fix it” now.

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Downtown Disaster
And with Honolulu being so dependent upon visitors for its livelihood, a scene like this should be intolerable.

Do SOMETHING!

Monday, April 27th, 2015

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“It’s Easy”
When you can’t do it all, do what you can. People sometimes feel like they cannot do everything, and consequently don’t do anything.
Some things are easier to do than others, get those out-of-the-way early. Don’t let things pile up. Something as minor as keeping trash cans empty is important. It becomes a part of your image. When I see an overflowing rubbish bin, I wonder what else this company is not doing.
And when people say, “I’m busy,” I think of my father who used to say, “If there’s something you need to get done, and can’t do it yourself, ask a busy person to do it.”
You may have noticed that it’s the busiest people that always have time to reply to your e-mail.