Did you ever have one of those moments when you wondered, “Is this a joke”? One where you look at the situation and think, OMG… this is a prime example of how NOT to do something. O.K., have I got one for you. As you hopefully know by now, great client service is my goal. I am always looking at service in the market place and mentally grading it. I just gave a big fat “F” to Jo-Ann’s Fabric Super Store and you will not believe how outrageous this was. (You have to be kind of familiar with fabric store procedures to really get this.)
I had been looking forward to going to the brand new super store in Boise for months. I had been driving by watching for the “We’re Open” sign. Finally, I get to go get some fabric! The store is pretty empty on my Sunday afternoon visit so I’m delighted to be able to have the store to myself. I select my fabric and go up to the cutting table where three employees are standing, presumably waiting for me. I laid the bolt of fabric on the table and said to the employee right in front of me “two yards please” to which she replies “do you have a number?”. Are you kidding me? I’m the only customer in sight. They all have a straight face and while two of them try to look busy, the one I’m in front of very seriously repeats herself, only louder. “Do you have a number?” I look all around (very dramatically – you know I love that) and say to her very quietly so as not to embarrass her “I’m the only customer here”. “Yes, I see that but the rules are you have to have a number.” The conversation continues with me trying to get her to see the idiocy of this, but alas she will not relent. My 14-year-old daughter is cringing at this point so I walk over and take a number from the number machine.
I kid you not, she picks up the speaker and announces to the store “Now serving number 43”. I hand her the little piece of paper and she cuts my fabric and then before she completes my transaction takes a phone call from the cashier. The other two employees evidently can’t see she is assisting customer number 43 so they did not attempt to catch the phone. I waited for her to read to the cashier the fabric SKU number of the fabric she cut for customer number 42 as the cashier cannot read her writing. After the lengthy call she gets back to me, customer number 43, and slowly and very carefully (did I mention slowly) writes the SKU number on the paper to attach to my fabric. She spends extra time explaining to me that while it seems to be taking a long time it is very important to write the correct number or the cashier will call and interrupt her assisting customer number 44 and have her say the number out loud. I am pretty tickled at this point having just picked up the material for my May newsletter article and am smiling as I head to the cashier. She is pleasant enough, rings up my order, looks at the register with a disgusted look and asks if I have any clue who cut my fabric. I tell her that Lois (the only employee working) had cut it and she picks up the intercom and says “Lois at the cutting counter call the cashier as I cannot read the SKU number on the fabric for customer number 43”. (NO, I am not making this up – this is how life happens to me). It seems that as slowly and carefully as Lois appeared to have been, she had been better at slow than accurate so I had to wait for her to pull the bolt and verbally tell the cashier the number. While we waited I was explaining to the cashier about the procedure for the number at the cutting counter to which she replies, “oh yes, that’s a rule”.
Lesson for us…Do we at Employers Resource ever pull a “Lois” while serving our clients? Do we allow “rules” to make us look dumb when common sense would have made us look great? Think about the company rules you enforce while serving clients and see how many you can find. Here’s an example from a real life situation in a branch that I watched unfold. A client called a branch payroll person (no longer working here) and told her that he wanted to increase Joe’s pay from 10.00 an hour to 11.00 an hour effective with the first day of the next pay period. The payroll person told the client he would need to complete a change of status form, sign it, and fax it in. I was able to step in and assure the payroll person they could complete the form for the client and write on it “per phone conversation with Tom Brown, owner”. The objective is to have a record of who authorized the increase and the effective date not to have the client complete the form.
Please send me any examples of how we “Lois” our clients and I’m going to collect them for training purposes and we may even establish “Lois Awards” for the employees coming up with the best new procedures.