Just recently I was asked to come into a small executive meeting with just twelve people to talk about customer service;
With this intimate group, I wanted to be a little more interactive; a dialogue with the audience, versus a monologue or speech.
At one point I had the executives split into two groups of six. One group was asked to discuss the best customer service experiences they had ever received.
The other group would discuss the worst experiences. After ten minutes, each group would share one example; the best of the best and the best of the worst.
Coincidently, both examples came from restaurants. The group with the great example of customer service shared the story about the server who went above-and-beyond. Apparently a guest wanted a particular brand of beverage that the restaurant didn’t have.
The server called his wife and asked her to go to the grocery store and bring it to the restaurant. The guest was surprised and delighted, not only to get the drink of choice, but with the effort the server went through to take care of her.
The other example, as mentioned, also took place in a restaurant. This server wasn’t at all engaged with the guests. He was just going through the motions. It appeared that he didn’t really want to be there.
There were several examples shared about how bad his customer service was. He didn’t seem to care that the guests had to wait. There was a problem with one of the meals and he showed no urgency in getting it taken care of.
Everyone was finished with their dinner when the problem entrée finally came out. And, then it was still wrong.
There was no sincere apology or an offer to buy the guest a drink or dessert, let alone take the meal off of the check. The person sharing the example was so frustrated that he didn’t even care to argue about taking the meal off of the check. He just wanted to leave.
After both stories were told, I emphasized that there was something in common between these two stories and asked them if they knew what it was. I said it all came down to one word. It didn’t take long before everyone realized what that one commonality was… Attitude.
In the example of the good service, it really was the attitude of the server. The server had a what-ever-it-takes attitude. He was pleasant and happy to serve his guests.
In the example of bad service, even though one of the meals was wrong, the problem really started with a bad attitude from the moment the guests sat down. Disengagement, apathy and no sense of urgency contributed to the guests’ bad experience.
Sometimes customer service is simply about attitude; a good one and a bad one. Situations can be saved or ruined by the right or wrong attitude. It’s simple. Attitude is a choice.
Copyright ©MMXIV, Shep Hyken - Reprinted with permission.
Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE is a customer service expert, hall-of-fame speaker and New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. He works with organizations to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. He is also the creator of The Customer Focus, a customer service training program that helps organizations develop a customer service culture and loyalty mindset. For more information contact (314) 692-2200 or www.Hyken.com