I, in all of my arrogance, used to think that the customer was always wrong and had no clue what they wanted. The best part is that I held this belief when I worked at one of the best service oriented places, Chick-fil-A. I know that I did my owner / operator some damage at times and I have actually apologized to him about that. I mean, can you really believe that I thought this?
Recently, I had an experience at Publix that reminded me just how bad I was when I was in customer service, and how much I have learned about it since I have been a part of Tip Top Poultry.
My son’s birthday was this past week and part of my job was to pick up the cake, veggie platter, and fill up the balloons while I was there. After picking up the cake and veggie platter, I headed over to customer service to ask if someone could help me fill up our balloons. One of their employees met me over there and I showed him the balloons that I needed to get filled. He asked to make sure that I knew it would cost a dollar per balloon to get them filled up. I was a little shocked , you know, being as stingy as I am, and because when Lindsay called and asked if we could get our balloons filled, they never mentioned anything about a price. I told them about the call and they said they would give us a small deal, but because Sam was with me, the time for the party was drawing near, and Lindsay was texting worried face emoji’s because I still had so much to do at the house, I didn’t really say much more and I just got the balloons filled, paid for everything, and left.
Well Sam’s birthday was a huge success, as you can see from some of the pictures in this previous post, but I still wanted to follow up with Publix and tell them about the communication error. I called the following day and bragged on one of their employee’s who helped us the day before, Becky, who is always so sweet to Sam and makes us feel like a million bucks. I also told them about how everyone thought the construction cake was not only cute, but delicious. Between those two compliments I let them know about the balloons, what wasn’t told on the phone, and what ended up happening. Well the lady who answered the phone, was super sweet about the whole thing and said that she was sorry about that and offered to refund half of what we paid for the helium which I thought was super generous.
I was able to head to the store soon after that call and she refunded the money which I thanked her for and she said, “Publix would expect me to do this. It is more important to us that you have a great experience and birthday, than for Publix to make some money.” I mean, what a winning employee championing a true spirit of customer service and making the customer feel appreciated. It really showed me that when I was in customer service I was so selfish and so wrong. It isn’t about us, or even the customer necessarily being right. It is really about exceeding expectations and serving those around us to the best of our abilities.
In thinking about this experience, I can’t even imagine how great my family life and marriage would be if I took this mindset of great customer service and lived that out for my wife and kids. The only issue is that pride, and the need to be right, is a hard pill to swallow.