I was just chatting to our Pleasure Relations Team…. Some organizations might refer to them as a contact centre or customer team. We named the team after what they do in supporting the brand experience. It is there job to ‘give people a good time.’ That is there role in the RedBalloon experience.
- [One of my colleagues, joined us straight from school and after a year or so in the production team was promoted to join the Pleasure Relations team – she was very pleased and sent an email to her mother to let her know that her career at RedBalloon was progressing. In the email she wrote that she had joined the Pleasure team and it was now her job to ensure that people who called had a good experience on the phone (or by email).
I got a phone call from her mother some days later. She asked me ‘I’d just like to know exactly what my daughter is doing at your company’ I replied ‘Oh we are so please your daughter has been promoted and is now giving people a ‘good time’ on the phone.’ Her mother replied haughtily ‘I’m hardly impressed and think this is quite inappropriate – in fact I forwarded her email to more than a dozen of my friends and all of them think that it is inappropriate.’ – I then acknowledged ‘Thank you for letting your friends know that RedBalloon is committed to the customer experience – and that we understand moment by moment that the reason people purchase from us is because they want some one to have a great experience – we don’t think ‘pleasure’ is a rude word at RedBalloon.’ You see as a marketer I know it is up to us to give people something worth saying. And being a little bit cheeky is ok too.]
So we are very clear that moment-by-moment each customer interaction can either make or break the impression that a customer has on our brand. There are eight people in the team dedicated to being the front line with participants and customers. Each of them bringing their own personality to the role. They are different ages and from various backgrounds – but consistently they have one bug bare in dealing with the public.
They say ‘we do anything for those who come to us with a pleasant tone and treat us as people – whilst we fulfill on our terms and conditions we do find ways that we can ensure that we fulfill on all our values – sense of humor, integrity (doing what we say we will do) and generosity (sharing information and knowledge openly) too. However we are only human. When people come to us with a threatening tone, not treating us as people, understanding that we are doing our best to fulfill on all our responsibilities. We can’t help ourselves if they are nasty to us it is so much easier to take a hard line with them.’
This is basic human instinct I suppose… The reality is though that each individual is a customer maybe ten times a day. We buy stuff, each of those interactions is an opportunity to make that individual feel good about what they do. An employer can only do so much – but when a customer acknowledges the contribution that person made to them – they will walk on a cloud nine for the whole day. Sometimes an employer is not there – and individuals are left having tough conversations.
It is so easy to make someone’s day… please don’t take it out on the person on the end of the phone if you are having a bad day. Let them know that they are doing a grand job.
I have had bus drivers fall off their seat almost – when I thank them for getting me there safely and on time… barista’s smile like a child when you let them know that they have started my day in the best way with the perfect coffee.
I have found that bullying someone, threatening or manipulating never get’s me great service. Simply noticing the real contribution others make… get’s me an amazing customer experience every time… and helps that person stay in love with their job.
It doesn’t hurt to play nice and say thank-you… how many people have you truly thanked today?