On both occasions the employee admitted breaking the rules. They had done something that I , the customer , thought was great service. But it was against the practices or policies as applied by their own managers.
See what you think.
“I Like To Give My Best Customers Free Drinks”
I’m on holiday in a bar I’ve been to a couple of times. On both occasions we’ve had maybe two drinks and left a very modest tip. On the third occasion the waitress comes over without taking our order.
She remembered it. A large beer, a white wine. Ice on the side.
She says – “This is a free round on the house. My manager doesn’t like me doing it – but I think regular customers deserve it. Please don’t mention it if you see him.”
Two previous visits. To her – we were now regulars. I think we went back to the bar every night for the rest of our holiday. The manager never knew why.
“How could anyone remember something so stupid?”
So I’m staying in a hotel that has free Wi-Fi. Except you have to renew it every few days at reception. And you are given a very complicated password and username that you can’t change, and you have no chance of remembering.
So one day I see someone new on reception and I ask her for a couple of passwords. She asks – “Can you tell me your room number Sir?”
And she hands over two user names and two passwords – personalised based on our names.
She says – “My manager says its not policy. But people keep saying they forget their passwords and they keep coming to the desk. I mean , how could anyone remember something so stupid? So I thought we could use their names. Please don’t tell them I do this though.”
Customer Service isn’t about policies , systems and protocol. It’s about common sense.
Knowing the customers , personalising service, surprising people with the unexpected. Making them remember you.
Management should be about encouraging these unexpected behaviours that don’t follow the script. And building these unexpected acts into everyday service.
My mission for the week?
Tell my teams to break a few rules every day. As long as they encourage customers to tell me about it.