Standing in line at an already-busy Subway sandwich shop, someone surprisingly called in to order a humongous party platter and the team was caught shorthanded… shorthanded big-time!
Customers were in line, waiting and waiting. And, the potential for a negative Subway experience was certainly present.
However, the owner, Trudy Harvey, took control, and what she did was very impressive. And, the cool thing is, the principles she utilized can be used by any of us in our own business.
#1 Every few minutes she apologized sincerely and expressed how it must “feel” for us to have to wait in line. This communicated to us that she respected our time and “understood” how we felt.
Not surprisingly, we all assured her it was quite okay and to take her time.
*Key point: When you suspect someone might have negative or uncomfortable feelings, sincerely acknowledge them, and let them know that you understand (or even, “can only imagine”) how they must feel. If you’ll do that, they’ll then usually assure you it’s okay. The principle involved is that, generally speaking, more than anything, people just want their feelings to be acknowledged.
#2 She announced, “Everyone gets a free cookie of their choice. We appreciate your patience so much.”
More than getting something for free, what was so appreciated was that she was acknowledging the situation, and demonstrating to us that she cared enough to make it right.
* Key point: Same as in the previous paragraph. The cookie was a nice thought, and certainly appreciated by the hungry throng, but it was her caring and understanding attitude that made the difference.
This is just one example of how we can take a “seemingly” negative situation for which there does not seem to be any options, and turn it into a positive “wow” experience for the “customer.” Of course, in this case, when I say “customer”, I’m talking about anyone and everyone with whom we need to communicate.
How can this example be applied when dealing with your friends, with everyday difficult people, with your co-workers, your customers and especially…those people you love and whom it is most important to make happy?
Would love to know your thoughts.
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Great post Bob. Acknowledgement is the only real key. Giving the cookie always seems to feel better than getting it. http://martycaisejr.wordpress.com/2010/12/07/giving-the-cookie-is-as-important-getting-it/
In real estate, schedules are rarely controlled by the agent. With so many hands in the mix there are delays in closings. Recently one of my closings was delayed by quite a while, causing the client to stress over having to be without a home for a few days. I explained how I understand how difficult this is and appreciate how patient she was, then I offered to pay for the hotel until they were set up in their new place. She greatly appreciated the gesture and was a little less stressed knowing there was a “Plan B”.