|Why do you give such GREAT Customer Service?|
Back in the day, when I worked in the Training Department at Mrs. Field's Cookies corporate office, I happened on a project left over from a previous staff member called, "What is GREAT Customer Service?" My boss, Monnie Hughes and I decided to make a sequel that asked the next question: WHY do you give GREAT Customer Service..
The original was a quick little 8 minute training presentation store managers could run for their teams before they started their shifts entitled, "What is Great Customer Service?" It was a home brew theatrical production that featured all the bad ham acting you cold cram into 8 minutes featuring the "cool" dudes and dudettes at headquarters. It showed a real life situation with simulated customers, how it is often handled (with appropriate comic effect) and how it should be handled. It was a bit more than skits in front of the fire place, but it got the message across.
My idea was to take advantage of a national swing to take pictures of some botique stores for the annual meeting--and video tape clerks, waitresses and others serving us as we traveled, two questions:
1. "What do you think is Great Customer Service?", and
2. "Why do you give Great Customer Service?
We never found a convenient, legal way to do what I'd envisoned without stopping some great servers, desk clerks and car rental agents in their appointed rounds. During that trip, Monnie and I asked three or four dozen people those two questions. I could bore you with the text book answers we got--and the dumfounded stares we encountered in a few folks without a clue.
The upshot of this quest came in Atlanta, Georgia down the street from the Great American Cookie headquarters--a subsidiary of Mrs. Fields. Monnie and I went to an venerable tea room for lunch with the Vice President of Marketing, a short Jewish woman with a heart of gold. Our waitress was a delightful African American grandmother named Effie who was in her early eighties if she was a day. Monnie winked at me and I asked the two questions:
"What do you think is GREAT customer service?"
"That's where you take your broken toaster, isn't it?" she responded.
I gently explained, "Thanks, Effie! But I was hoping for something about how you serve your patrons...but let's try this question,' WHY do you GIVE such great customer service?'"
"That's easy" she grinned, "Its cuz ah LUVES mah peeple!!!"
I never had a better answer!
With all this extra attention, she shyly told us about her two sons, a doctor and a lawyer--and dragged me over to see an article in the Atlanta Constitution Sunday Magazine about her long service, preserved under glass in a dignified frame. But she didn't take much time. She was in charge of twenty tables in the big tea room and she had some water glasses to fill!
The AFTER STORY: We never produced that project. The company decided to level the budget deficit by letting one HQ staff member per department go back on the job market. Reduction in force is what it sayes on the official paperwork. As valuable as I thought I was, the company decided otherwise. Monnie and I had hired a great college student who was familiar with all the desk top publishing and video production software.
(My great friend, Monnie, invited me back to shoot and edit the training film when Mrs. Fields partnered with Sesame Street for the inevitable Cookie Monster and Elmo cookie projects---and in retrospect it was time to move on!)