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Convey authentic enthusiasm

This post is the fourth in a series that will identify 10 different customer service advantages that have emerged from my analysis of customer satisfaction data. Maybe you have capitalized on one or more of these advantages in your own business? The fourth advantage is to convey authentic enthusiasm.

To illustrate, I’ll share a true story about a Paradise Bakery & Cafe general manager who folks call…Cowbell Sandy.

{Insert dramatic Clint Eastwood Western whistle here.}

A few years ago, she introduced an incentive program to increase add-on sales of bottled water, cookies, and other high margin items. She worked with vendors to sponsor the prizes—which ranged from iTunes gift cards to iPods.

Employees were so energized by the incentive program that they constantly asked Sandy to print the sales report to assess how they were performing compared to their co-workers. The report was the only way that employees could see who on the team was generating the most add-on sales.

That gave Sandy an idea. Instead of letting people know how they were performing only when the report was printed, she decided to clank a stainless steel container with a metal spoon and hoot and holler just a bit to acknowledge—in the moment—when one of her team members had added sales.

In doing so, Sandy included an element of spontaneous recognition to the incentive program. This not only created additional enthusiasm among team members, it also created a stir with customers in the mall’s food court. All of sudden, customers were coming by to see what all the clanking and laughter was about. This increased store traffic in a competitive environment with plenty of other dining options from which to choose.

A couple of weeks into the promotion, the staff got together and bought Sandy a cowbell to use in place of her makeshift noisemaker. That day, she formally earned the nickname, Cowbell Sandy.

The program was a huge success! Top producers were adding an average of $11.50 an hour in add-on sales. Team members were receiving constant recognition from an inspiring manager in a high-energy environment filled with enthusiasm—and customers!

Authentic enthusiasm adds a spark to an otherwise ordinary experience and is an effective way to express one’s uniqueness while making a lasting positive impression on others.

How do you convey authentic enthusiasm at work?

Order Delight Your Customers: 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary by Steve Curtin or purchase from select retailers, including Barnes & Noble.
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