December 1, 2009
What happened the last time you asked an employee to do something that was not his job?
Did he cheerfully accept the responsibility and work beyond his job description to fulfill your request? Did the employee begrudgingly fulfill your request—making sure you knew through body language or words that he was doing you a favor? Or, worse yet, did you hear some variation of “That’s not my job”?
Last night, I stopped by my local King Soopers grocery store to pick up a princess balloon for my daughter who turned five years old today. The floral area where the packaged mylar balloons were sold was accessible to customers but, due to the late hour, there was no employee manning the counter with the large helium tank used to fill the balloons.
I went in search of a store employee and encountered Sean. Knowing right away that it “wasn’t Sean’s job” to operate the helium tank, I prepared myself for disappointment. Based on my experience as a customer, I expected him to say something like, “That’s not my department,” or “I don’t know how to operate the helium tank,” or “That person doesn’t come in until 7:00 o’clock tomorrow morning.”
Instead, Sean accepted the mylar balloon package from me with a smile. As we walked towards the floral area, he said, “I’ve never worked the helium tank before but I’m sure I can figure it out.” Although he didn’t say it, Sean was communicating a refreshing response: “That’s my job!” A minute later he had the balloon out and followed the instructions on the packaging to properly fill the balloon.
His first attempt resulted in a large explosion as the $10 balloon burst due to being overfilled. Undaunted, he retrieved a replacement from the rack and tried again. This time, he put a little less helium in it and within minutes I was leaving the store with a large princess balloon that he had tethered to a strand of pink ribbon.
Making a lasting positive impression on customers is not hard to do. It simply requires genuine caring and the willingness to work outside of one’s job description when necessary in order to fulfill customers’ needs. Communicating “That’s my job!” is a great way to accomplish this while, at the same time, providing a pleasant surprise—because most customers won’t expect such a refreshing response.
How about you? What is your experience or example?