Monday, May 10th, 2010
The other day, my family and I went to Dairy Queen for “Something Different” (the DQ slogan).
After waiting in line for a few minutes, our family of six made its way to the front of the line. Looking at the “scrumdelicious” pictures on the menus suspended above the counter, my youngest children could hardly contain their excitement!
Their eyes, wide with wonder, darted from one delectable menu image to the next. They smiled and began to giggle as they realized it was now our turn to order and that, within minutes, they would have their frosty treats in hand…
Smiling in response to my children, I looked up to face the counter employee. In sharp contrast to my children’s faces, her facial expression was matter-of-fact—even serious.
Her greeting consisted of, “Do you know what you want?”
She then robotically gathered information, processed the order, issued a receipt, and completed the transaction.
After we placed our order, my son Cole (age 9) and I waited off to the side for our order while the rest of the family found a place for us to sit on the patio.
I asked Cole, “On a zero to ten scale with zero being rude and ten being very friendly, how would you rate the girl who took our order?”
He said, “Six.”
I asked him why he rated her a six and he said, “Because she didn’t smile.”
I then asked him, “Was there anything else?”
And he said, “Yes, but I can’t put my finger on it.”
What Cole couldn’t put his finger on (because he’s only in third grade) is the leading cause of customer dissatisfaction: indifference.
In one survey, 68 percent of customers said they quit doing business with a company because of perceived indifference towards them as customers.
And here’s what is really scary: Most customer service providers are blissfully unaware of their own indifference. From their perspectives, they are efficiently executing customer transactions.
They may not recognize that what customers tend to remember the most are not the routine steps that make up transactions—they remember the demeanors and unique personalities of the employees who served them.
Behaviors like eye contact, smiling, and adding enthusiasm to one’s voice do more to convey appreciation for customers than any other aspect of a customer transaction.
These are the “little things” that make a lasting impression—and a real difference in customer satisfaction.