When it comes to customer service excellence, approaching problems with a positive attitude can go a long way.
One of my clients has a mantra: Always assume the best. So often we automatically think the worst of someone or assume the most negative of intentions. We anticipate what others are thinking and plan our “attack” accordingly.
What if we always assumed the best until proven otherwise?
If we did, we would take the time to Investigate the situation first and discover the reasons behind a choice or an action, prior to jumping to conclusions. Once we had more information, then we could proceed with a plan of action that was driven by facts instead of emotions and incorrect conclusions.
One of my favorite stories, shared by an audience member, makes the point.
She and her husband were dining at a restaurant. Their server, a young woman, was late to their table, forgot a couple of items, and barely cracked a smile the entire time they were there. She seemed very unhappy and was hardly a model of customer service excellence.
For whatever reason, my audience member and her husband decided to assume she was just having a bad day and to make it better. They left a $100.00 tip on the table and considered it their “random act of kindness.”
As they were walking to their car, the young woman who had served them came running out after them in tears. She apologized for her behavior and explained that she was a single mother of two who was having trouble making ends meet. Her electricity had just been turned off and she had no idea what she was going to do. Their kindness had just paid her electric bill.
While I know not all of us have $100.00 we can leave as a tip even when we are treated to customer service excellence, we can all turn our thoughts to the positive. I repeat my question above: What if we always assumed the best until proven otherwise?
That brings me to an email I just received from Evan, who is the general manager at Sara’s restaurant in Erie, Pennsylvania.
One very busy, we had a customer coming through our drive-thru with her brother’s brand-new truck, and she side-swiped the building. When we heard this happened, we sent a manager outside, and the customer was hysterical. The manager came in to ask our owner what we should do.
He decided to comp the customer’s meal, and he gave her a gift card for her trouble. She was very appreciative of the positive reaction. Not only did his reaction surprise the customer, but it also surprised the staff and sent a great message about approaching problems in a positive way.
I love it!!! The manager could have assumed the worst and run outside yelling at the customer. Instead, they took a situation where the customer was clearly at fault, and turned it into a story of customer service excellence that is probably repeated by that woman over and over again!
Also, Evan is absolutely right! That moment taught the staff at Sara’s something very important about rolling out the red carpet for their guests.