This Fast Company article recently came up in my Twitter feed and it was certainly great and entertaining, as ever, to read about extreme examples of customer service. As a marketing person, when I read this type of content I always want to understand if these are publicity/PR tactics delivered in a particularly awesome burst (which, naturally have their place: no quarrel here) or are these companies delivering on a broader, highly-principled mission of delivering outstanding service?
Through that lens, I decided that my favourite story in this article has to be the one about the Krispy Kreme employee, Jackie, in Austin, Texas. It is a customer-shot video made back in November 2012 by a man who was actually looking to get rejected for his crazy request. The store’s on-duty shift leader, Jackie, found a way to deliver. The reason that this one is my favourite is that it unfolds organically before our eyes and so it gives us a real, unfiltered view of what it means to make good hires and have a culture of great service.
The Fast Company article details some great learnings from the video but even those are kind of delivered via the commentary of the Krispy Kreme’s Chief Marketing Office, Dwayne Chambers. Again: that’s cool and 100% appropriate, but here are 3 unspoken principles at work that I really noticed in this video:
HIRE PEOPLE WITH A SERVANT’S HEART
Our Chief Of Staff, Todd Skinner loves to talk about how important this consideration is. People who naturally love to help other people do not need your mission drilled into them, simply because it is already their mission too. Watch the video: right away Jackie, the Krispy Kreme employee, starts thinking of the request not in terms of whether or not she can or will deliver, but rather how she can deliver. When does he need the donuts? Is this the configuration you are looking for? Are these the correct colours? She is a champ and goes straight into “get it done” mode.
Do you have any procedures or rules in place that are actually at odds with your promise of delivering great service? The creator of this video, Jia Jang was clearly expecting Jackie to tell him that she was unable to service his request due to some company policy. Heck no! She started thinking of workarounds out loud, right on camera.
BUILD IN FEEDBACK MECHANISMS
In the follow-up video, where Jia goes back to visit Jackie once the cat is out of the bag about his reason for creating the video in the first place, he gives her an opportunity to respond to her “hundreds of thousands of fans on the Internet” (286,058 at this writing) and her response is to thank everyone for the feedback. The original video led to her store being flooded with phone calls to congratulate Jackie and give positive feedback. In her own words “the response totally makes my job more worth it cuz you’re showing me more people appreciate it and y’all aren’t even here.”
Our sales and marketing group recently travelled to a trade show in Las Vegas and had the privilege of having some really great, high-level discussion with some clients where we got to put our promise of client happiness through a kind of trial by fire. Man, fire can be uncomfortable sometimes, can’t it? Kidding, of course, but we were able to discover a couple useful things we could improve and the learnings from that were twofold:
- Real feedback, both positive and negative, from real customers/users is fantastic because it motivates the right type of people in all the right ways.
- Always be checking to make sure you are delivering on your promise. You may not always like the answer but that can be a good thing. The only thing more frustrating to a customer than a company not delivering great service is that same company yammering incessantly about how great their service is.