Nina Spencer

“The Experience starts now!” At least that’s what they promised

I traded in my old modem for a new one today; this required a visit to one of my service provider's retail outlets. Now I'm in "the business" of championing service excellence, employee motivation, how to feel and how to demonstrate authentic passion for your profession (whatever it is you "do" for a living), so, as a consumer/private citizen, I'm always holding a company's feet to the fire when they espouse certain service "promises" and expectations. With this particular company, the promise was literally plastered in BIG capital letters, right on the front glass door: "WELCOME TO _ _ _ _ _ _ ...THE EXPERIENCE STARTS NOW!"

Wow! We (my husband and I) were going to have an "experience" once we crossed this store's threshold! Hmmm. Wonder what that will look like? feel like? Guess what...big--I mean BIG--disappointment...at least at first. The person who greeted us (and I use that term loosely) at the custom "service" desk had a lack luster facial expression and energy to match. She did not offer a greeting nor initiate communication but, rather, waited for me to share my "problem". Despite my smile and sincere, gracious manner, she continued for some moments to be poker faced, seemingly uninterested and disengaged (although I know she was hearing me just fine). I kind of wanted to knock on her head and say, "Hello? Is anybody there? Hello...McFly?"

It became a bit of a challenge for me. I confess, I was taking it personally. This was my experience??? This was all I was going to get? What about the door??? What a rip off! "False advertising!", I wanted to shout. I decided to take on my own challenge and see if I could do my level best to get this employee to give me (without her really knowing it) the "experience" to which the door boasted. Granted, they didn't really say what kind of experience I was going to get, did they...but one is left assuming it would be a FANTASTIC one.

I had to do most of the work but, in the end, she was charming, engaged and really did provide me with the service excellence "experience" I was pledged in writing at the doorstep. But note: I had to do all of the work/facilitate that end result (and that's because I know how). But what about the "other guy"...the next customer, who may not know how to bring another around. It really isn't the customer's job to inspire staff members/service professionals to deliver on the company's service excellence promises. If the frontline or other service staff members aren't delivering on this promise because they don't know how, it's management's job to recruit and select for "right" personality, as well as capability...and it's management's job to ensure that staff assigned to meet, greet and serve customers are armed with all the right interpersonal and service excellence communication skills required before they're shoved in front of the "firing squad". Otherwise, if the company still insists on hiring these particular (low energy, lackluster) individuals, they should be assigned stock room duties, instead. Poorly suited employees damage a company's word and credibility.