Life is stressful. The societal pressures of work, providing for your family, body image, social media, etc. are bad enough; the last thing you need early in the morning is a grumpy ticket agent to start your day off on a miserable note. Here’s my story…
I haven’t taken the train into New York City, from my home in New Jersey, in roughly 10 years. I sure don’t miss the crowds or the unfriendly ticket agents. Guess dealing with fellow commuters gets to them too. Today was to be different…
On the New Jersey Transit trains there are blue-suited attendants, ticket agents, who monitor the passengers to ensure they have a valid ticket to ride the train. One by one they stop by each seat and collect the ticket, punch a hole in it and move on to the next passenger.
This is what you usually hear…
“Tickets, get your tickets out”. “Have your tickets ready” or some similar phrase.
Never a please, or hello and definitely not a good morning.
Sliding into my seat I waited patiently for the “floor show” to begin. That’s what I used to call the banter between the agent and hapless passenger.
“Hey, good morning, thanks. Have a great day”. “Morning, how are you doing today?” “Hello, may I have your ticket please?” “Great, thanks and have a wonderful day”.
After 146 years, the show that has created memories for countless children of all ages will finally come to a close. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, citing a “variety of factors” will end its spectacular traveling road show in May of this year.
The company started by Phineas Taylor (PT) Barnum brought joy, amazement and wonder to millions of people through the years by providing sights, sounds and circumstances not normally available to the public.
Thinking back on the fond childhood memories, as I sat with my mother in the seats of New York’s Madison Square Garden watching the elephants parade around or looked up in wonder at the daredevil trapeze artists, I still can place myself in the arena. Images forever etched in our mind allow us to relive the experience as we see fit. PT created an experience.
Is it one of joy, satisfaction, or frustration? Is it full of unexpected “extras” given with an abundance of smiles or a less than adequate attempt of service due to poor preplanning? Do you provide a service that is memorable or spend too much time explaining your shortcomings?
The PT Barnums and Walt Disneys of this world created experiences that were/are unrivaled in the world of business. They took hold of your emotions and wouldn’t let go until all your senses were touched. (more…)
Year after year we hope service and the customer experience gets better. But great service comes at a cost, a high labor cost that many businesses are not willing or able to pay. So what are their options? Technology, that’s it. Or is it?
Ever see those little boxes that pop up on the bottom right of your screen saying “Hi, I’m Susan and I’m here to help you”? Come on, do you really think Susan is there to answer your questions? Well, when these “bots” first started to appear, I must admit I did! I felt so foolish when I realized it was just another way to interact with the online customer.
“Chat bots”, short for chat robot, is a computer program that simulates human conversation, or chat, through artificial intelligence.*
I thought email was the preferred method to contact a business’s service or help desk. Now I need to deal with a talking computer? I guess I’m still old fashioned.
Virtual Reality and Holograms
This cutting edge technology can allow a customer to stand still while they virtually “try on” various articles of clothing. Just (more…)
Evan Carmichael was named one of the Top 100 Great Leadership Speakers by Inc. Magazine and is an Entrepreneurship Expert helping countless people reach their dreams. Visit his website here or follow him on Twitter @EvanCarmichael.
There’s a reason why Apple is a leader in not only technology but customer service too. They actually provide the vehicle(s) needed to service their customers’ needs. It’s not based on what Apple wants but on what their customers’ need. Here’s how I found out.
I purchased a new iPhone 6 Plus on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. After the initial plinking with my new toy I put it to rest so I can visit family for the holiday. On Friday I returned to my investigation of my new gadget. All went well.
As a kid growing up in Brooklyn New York I spent countless hours with my best friend. We were neighbors and always together. Whether going to the movies, playing ball or doing other “kid stuff”, we had great times together.
Moving forward many years I sat down today to write a new article on what makes great customer service. As I listed specific characteristics I realized how much in common they have with a good friend, a BFF (best friend forever).
Here’s 8 Ways Great Service is Just as Special as Your BFF
A Warm Smile
Your eyes widen, your stress and anxiety lessens and your day seems a little brighter. That’s what your BFF’s smile does for you. The world is a better place because of him/her.
When we enter a business nothing starts the interaction off better than a warm welcome –
“Good afternoon, welcome to ___________, how may I help you today?” Follow next with a sincere smile and you are off to a great customer service start. Great businesses hire for personality first and train for the job skills second.
You failed them again. Be honest – face the facts! You worked hard for years to build a loyal customer base and now look at you. Your customers are leaving in droves. What happened?
Sales are down, bills now pile up. Employee morale is low and coming to work is no longer fun.
When business was good you thought it would last forever. You stopped doing the things that brought you success and took your customers for granted. You became the “bad boss”…
What happened? How did you get into this position?
I bet if you asked your customers why they stopped shopping with you these are the reasons they would give.
7 Guaranteed Ways to Lose a Customer
Don’t Patronize Me
I don’t care about the industry jargon or technical terms used to describe why the product stopped working. Speak to me like a person. Explain the problem in terms I can understand and make sense. Only then will I agree to pay for the repair or replacement. If not, I don’t need your product or company. I’ll go somewhere else. There are plenty other businesses to choose from. (more…)
Don’t hard-sell me. I don’t like it and I promise you won’t change my mind. Touting the benefits of a product/service over my objections does nothing to sway me. All it does is want me to leave the item at your register and walk out the door.
Best Buy, a local electronics “mega store”, has more items than anyone could possibly want. Aisle after aisle is packed with the latest gadgets and there are plenty of blue-shirted employees to help you. That’s a good thing.
I stopped into the store yesterday with my cousin who eagerly guided me through the benefits of his latest gadget, the Amazon Fire TV Stick. Now it was my turn to buy it.
One of the sales associates quickly helped us find the item within the large store then whisked us towards the short checkout line. Another good thing.
Ever have a customer come into your business and later ask you about where they can find something at a neighboring business? Do you say “I don’t know, I’m not from around here?” Not exactly anticipatory service, huh?
Here’s the scenario:
While waiting in line at a major department store, I overheard the woman in front of me mention that it was her wedding anniversary next week. She wanted to know where the nearest greeting card store was and asked the cashier.
The cashier’s response was “I don’t know, I’m not from around here”. And to make matters worse, the cashier didn’t even follow up. She just put her head back down and continued to ring in the purchases!
Exasperated, the customer turned to me and said “do you believe this”?
Since I wasn’t “from around here” either I wasn’t able to help this woman but couldn’t leave it there. I turned around and asked the next customer behind me if he knew where the closest greeting card store was.
“Sure, of course I know” and proceeded to give us clear, and easy-to-follow directions to the store.
I can understand that the average employee doesn’t make a mental note of the surrounding businesses with the expectations that knowledge will be needed by a customer sometime in the future. But isn’t that what anticipatory service is all about?