Friday, February 10, 2012

A Tale of Two Cities

I read several blogs about service and in one such blog the author has the following to say
about his experience in a New York restaurant recently. The waiter spoke on his own and
delivered excellent service.

I quote:

"But, isn't it ironic that the best restaurant servers do things their way? They don't follow a script. They don't take direction about their every move. They bring their own personal style into the engagement with their customers.

This struck me last weekend when I was out to dinner with my family. And for those of you that know me personally, no, it was not at my local Applebee's.

It was, on the surface, undetectable. But, the more I thought about it, the more it began to sink in. Sure, my waiter did all the basics. He was attentive, courteous and timely without being overly intrusive. But, the style with which he delivered his service was what made the experience richer.

After a few days of pondering this, going back to work in a contact center on Monday morning, I wondered how that same dining experience would have gone if my waiter was given a script to follow verbatim.

I've heard all the reasons under the sun why scripts are necessary in the contact center. The interaction is complex. These reps are paid eight bucks an hour. They can't be trusted with free forming it; using their brains. The regulators require that we say certain things.


Hire people with a passion to serve. Give them the basics and set them free. You'll be amazed at what they'll deliver."

Let me tell you my own experience. You would have seen these people standing in the entrances of the big shops like Pothys, Naidu Hall, etc. who speak one or two sentences and guide you inside the store location. Nothing great about it.

On one occasion I visited the SKC ( Sree Krishna Collections - don't think of Sweet, Karam and Coffee!) and the guy standing in the entrance was from down south. He had a penchant for speaking in chaste repeat chaste tamil with everyone coming in. This way he was able to attract the customers and spoke to them not one or two sentences but as much as the customers wished to - maybe two or three minutes at times.

Since I had only escorted my daughter to the shop, I asked her to go in and spoke to this guy in the very same style - trying to talk in tamil without using any english words.

I happened to visit the same shop a few weeks later and this guy says:
ஐயா, வாங்க ,வாங்க. நலமாக உள்ளீர்களா? என்னை நினைவில்வைத்துள்ளீர்களா?
(Sir, welcome, welcome. Are you keeping well? Do you remember me?) with uncommon familiarity.

I told him that I do remember him and complimented him in his remembering me among the hundreds of customers he keeps meeting every other day.

What will be your rating for this customer relations executive?

70%, 80%, 90% ?

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