Thursday, March 19, 2009

Getting it Right - Sometimes the Little Things Count

Jason Lackey

Many in the customer service profession have probably been subjected to the story about the old widow and Nordstrom. For those unfamiliar with the tale, an elder woman was a customer of high end retailer Nordstrom for n-number of decades. At some point her husband died, leaving some tires in the garage. With some help, she schlepped the tires to Nordies, which did not sell tires, and tried to return them. The fellow at the counter was a bit perplexed, as Nordstrom did not sell tires, but he rose to the occasion, looked up a reasonable price for the tires and refunded the woman's money. After all, she *always* shopped at Nordstrom. Nice work, good "wow" effect.

An example closer to home involving a call center comes to us via Amdocs, where Bruce Graham writes of his Uplifting Burglary. He parked his car in an underground lot and came back the next day to find window smashed and stuff strewn. When he called the autoglass repair place his conversation went like this:

- "Hello, Autoglass – how can I help?"
- "Well – I've just had my car window broken by a thief, and I don't quite know what to do."
- "Well, the first thing is are you okay?"

Sometimes it is the little things, like when the woman asked "first thing, are you OK" that make all the difference. This one line, which cost nothing, made a lasting impression. Next time Bruce needs new windows in his car I can guess who he is going to call.

Working in call centers, particularly when dealing with mobile subscribers, presents challenges, to be sure, but also opportunities. Subscribers who have lost or damaged their mobiles are likely to be very upset, but they are also likely to remember how they were treated. This creates the perfect opportunity to make a "wow" moment. If you have had such a situation where you left your customer suprised and delighted with their treatment, why not take a moment to share?

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