Having worked in retail for years now, as well as in other positions that demand customer service, I have grown to really appreciate the service provided by others. At times I may be overly critical but overall I appreciate seeing different styles, or lack thereof, in a service associates. I was brought up to have a work ethic that included politeness and at times I am discouraged by the service I see, both where I work and where I am a patron. Other times I’ve had cause to praise the service I’ve seen or been party to. The customer service I provide may have impacts I never even know and those that provide me with service, good or bad, may have a longer impact than they know.
I recently went to a restaurant where I requested to sit outside. The waitress seemed very put out by this and actively discouraged the choice, without saying no. She didn’t want to work outside because it was hot (81F with 30% humidity) and if others saw me sit outside, they will all want to sit outside too. I chose to be amused by it but for others, it may have been an unacceptable environment. Nevertheless I had great food and an amusing meal. But it really highlights other times I’ve had great service and makes me appreciate those who have given it to me all the more.
As a Walgreens employee, I have had all kinds of service models taught to me. The original was GOT service, Greet the Customer, Offer Assistance, and Thank the customer. The GOT model is still at the heart of the Extraordinary Customer Care (ECC) model that we use today but it has evolved. Most of the time I’ll walk into a Walgreens and be disappointed, but not surprised when I am not greeted by a staff member, even if they’re a couple of aisles down, but I remember walking into a Walgreens store just South of Chicago and being greeted very cheerily by the front cashier. It made my day to see the ECC model being used and I went and thanked his manager, and while on the way was offered assistance by another employee. In that store I was proud to be a member of the Walgreens family.
I also remember a time when I was working and I greeted a customer that walked in. I was stocking shelves near the doors and a gentleman in a suit walked in. This was not uncommon in our store so I cheerily said hello and asked if I could assist him in finding anything. He thanked me but declined and walked away. I thought nothing of it until he was leaving and stopped to chat with me on his way out. It turned out that the gentleman was the District Pharmacy Supervisor for my store (a level above store manager) and he thanked and praised me for my Extraordinary Customer Care. Not only did I make him happy (apparently I also made my manager very happy), but he made my day too. So it goes to show that you never know who you could be greeting or assisting next.
There’s a saying we used when I was staffing NYLT, “there’s a participant behind every tree,” meaning always act as if you need to be on your best and most professional behavior. This is a lesson I have taken to heart and it has paid dividends time and time again. There are so many customer service models out there, but there are benefits to be had in all of them. I strive to make sure I give the best service possible, every day, whether directly to the client or indirectly by helping other staff. Customer service is the key.
Martin “Mixy” McNichols
Until we meet again
P.S. I want to include a few things here. Below you will find a poem that is posted in many of the stores I work in. I think it is a fine showing of why “Customer service is the key.” I also will post a few customer service models I have run across.
Because the Customer has a Need, We have a job to do.
Because the Customer has a Choice, We must be the Better Choice.
Because the Customer has sensibilities, We must be Considerate.
Because the Customer has an urgency, We must be quick.
Because the Customer is unique, We must be flexible.
Because the Customer has high expectations, We must Excel.
Because the Customer has influence, We have the hope of more customers.
Because of the Customer, We Exist.
The Extraordinary Customer Care model that we use at Walgreens:
- Proactively offer assistance
- Consistently use branded salutations
- Personalize the customer’s experience by adapting your style to the needs of the customer
- Make sure your body language, tone and word choices show customers you care
- Make every effort to find a solution to customer’s questions and concerns
The GOT Service Model:
- Greet the Customer
- Offer Assistance
- Thank the Customer
Walgreens Seven Cultural Beliefs:
- Be One
- Be Real
- Be Bold
- Build Trust
- Love Customers
- Own it
- Live it
McDonalds Service Experience Platform:
- Be Clean
- Be Nice
- Be Fast
- Get it Right
- Make it Right