Customer Relations- Put yourself in their shoes

May 1, 2006 by  

This past weekend I got to spend 4 hours behind the counter of our local baseball league snack shack. Parents are asked to volunteer time so I figured one afternoon was easy to do. I was not prepared for the non-stop flurry of activity taking orders, handling money and delivering the food. Above all, having to get it done quickly and efficiently, while making a positive consumer experience.

I’m a conscientious marketer, so I really wanted to make sure I did a good job. I greeted each customer with a smile, repeated the order to make sure it was correct, asked for their money and counted out the cash I gave back to them. Finally I wished them a nice day.

I was glad when my volunteer shift was over. The experience did make me think about how easy it becomes to assume others are doing the job they are supposed to. For example, I didn’t need to be courteous or helpful. Sure it’s part of my nature, but I wasn’t being paid or incentivized to do so. My motivation is that I like to treat people how I would prefer to be treated by them.

Marketing Managers: How is your Customer Service Team doing? Have you ever tried to call/email/visit to experience for yourself how the average consumer is treated by your brand? It’s a good exercise, especially since consumers are more likely to remember and speak about a negative experience.

You might also benefit from a day spent working with the Customer Service Team. You may uncover opportunities to improve a product feature or canned responses that need to be updated.

Plus, I bet the Customer Service Team would be highly impressed that you take interest in their work and would be motivated to deliver high quality work if they knew you recognized and respected their work.


About me…
Twenty years ago, in the mid-80’s, I spent 2.5 years working at Burger King. At first I learned all the secrets of sweeping and mopping, cleaning the parking lot and washing trays. Soon I was trusted to make shakes, sending meat through the broiler, and deep frying various munchables. Eventually I was given store keys, an Assistant Manager title, an 80 cent raise and “responsibility.” More importantly, I got to trade in my maroon corduroy with yellow collar crew shirt for any plain short sleeve shirt and tie combo I chose. Back then, looking half way important was better for my morale than the title and responsibility. 🙂

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