Awesome PR For A Nickel
It saddens me to say that I run into terrible customer service all the time. I’m always struck that I should write a blog post about it, but I don’t like to be negative. Thankfully, I had an incredible shopping experience this weekend – an experience that could have easily been terrible, but was made excellent with a nickel.
Let me paint a picture for you: It was a Saturday afternoon, December 10th, right in the middle of the Christmas shopping season. The store was the Regina branch of Chapters – a national bookstore chain. I love going to the store, but it is usually busy, and during Christmas it is extra crazy. Ordinarily, I would avoid going there on the weekend, but I was on a mission. I needed a children’s book for a Christmas present, and I had just had a magazine article published in an internationally distributed magazine (Bronco Driver). I had one copy, but wanted a few more. I bundled up the kids, loaded them into my wife’s car, and headed out.
As soon as I walked in the store I gasped. The lineup for the tills was crazy. I don’t know how many people where in line, but I would guess about 100. This was a big store (like a Barnes & Noble) and the line went from the tills to the center of the store, then turned and headed down the centre aisle. I did my shopping, and made my way to the end of the line, fully expecting to be there for 30 minutes or more. Imagine my surprise and astonishment when an employee walked up and said I was about 10 minutes from the cash register and then extended a basket full of holiday coloured Hersey’s Kisses to me and my children.
Zig Ziglar often says that “It’s the little things that make the big difference” and I have to agree with him. Chapters did many things right here, and it cost them no more than a nickel per customer:
1. The tills were fully manned. Recognizing that they were going to be busy, the management had somebody working on every till. This is important, because customers weren’t left with a feeling that the store was shirking their duties. The tills were full, nothing more could be done.
2. People were kept informed. In almost every instance of customers getting angry about a wait, a lack of information is the cause. Lineups for the observation platform at the Empire State Building can be hours long, but the management has set up signs telling you how far, on average, you are from the top. Chapters chose to use a friendly employee to do the same. So simple.
3. They bribed us with candy. I don’t care who you are, everybody loves candy, especially chocolate, and especially at Christmas. And, Hershey’s Kisses are small, cheap, and tasty. Even if you don’t like chocolate, you could never be angry with someone who approaches you with a smile and candy.
You can buy a giant bag of Hershey’s Kisses for a few bucks, and it takes seconds for a smiling employee to hand them out and share some information. So simple, so cheap, and so effective.