3 Ways Your Employees Are Killing Your Customer Experience

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Story highlights

Making it hard, rudeness and fighting with customers ruins the customer experience

I’m standing at the front desk of a nice hotel in Baltimore. The front desk clerk is having a problem with my reservation. I wondered if it was because I had literally just booked the reservation 45 minutes prior, just as I got into my rental car at the airport. I told the hotel employee that perhaps my very recent booking was the problem.

He called hotels.com, the company I used for booking, not once, but two times, about my reservation. When he didn’t get things sorted out after 2 long calls to hotels.com, he told me, “I’m just going to cancel your hotels.com reservation and rebook you in our system.”

I was eager to get into my room and rest up for a week of full-day training sessions. His suggestion sounded good to me. That is, until, a couple of months later when checking my hotels.com account, I get a message stating that my 6-night hotel stay in Baltimore had been removed from my Rewards Account and that I would not get credit for that stay.

The primary reason I use hotels.com is for the rewards. I travel a lot. It takes 10 hotel stays to earn a free hotel night. In June I received two free hotel nights and used both of those nights for get-aways with my husband. I travel a lot.

Now, hotels.com is telling me that because they couldn’t help my hotel in Baltimore sort out a problem, they are removing my earned rewards?

Using hotels.com as the perfect example, I will walk you through 3 Ways Your Employees Are Killing Your Customer Experience.

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How to Talk to Your Employees About the Way They Talk to Customers

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My husband helping our son with homework a couple of nights ago

Story highlights

Maintain employees’ esteem when giving constructive feedback, so you protect the relationship and get behavior change

I’m sitting on my patio, with my feet up. It’s cloudy, and there’s a light breeze. Such a contrast to the oppressively hot and humid summer we’ve had

Sitting here on my patio I made a list of 50 things that I’m happy about right now. I do this exercise from time to time, whenever my mood needs lifting. Some of the things on my list are:

  • I got all of the wood polished.
  • Though Warren’s team lost, his spirit remains high.
  • ClearCorrect trusted me to train their team for the second time, and I’m fully prepared for the big day!
  • We had a fantastic getaway to Dallas, and I’m so glad Dad was able to join us.
  • My homemade lunch, Portobello Mushroom Burgers, and Sweet Potato Fries were amazing!
  • Michelle’s Dad’s cancer is gone! God is good!
  • My lunch yesterday with Toneille at the Vault was fantastic! The vegan food was fabulous, and I loved catching up with Toneille. 

My husband is one of the coaches on our son’s football team. We got beat 43 – 0 on Saturday. The loss felt as bad as it sounds. Right now my husband is sitting in front of the computer with my son watching game film. He was pointing out everything my son did wrong.

My son’s body language and tone told me my husband was bringing him down. That’s why I’m on the patio. I had to get out of the house.

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Want to Write Amazing Complaint Response Emails? Here are 4 Keys to Doing Just That.

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Story highlights:

Empathy, Casual Language, and Personal Pronouns are the secret to amazing complaint response emails

Have you heard of Blue Apron? It’s a grocery delivery service, basically. You get recipes and perfectly proportioned ingredients sent to you, and all you have to do is whip up gourmet meals in your kitchen. I use services like this literally every week. I just don’t have time to grocery shop with my busy kids and my travel schedule.

Well, the first time I tried Blue Apron, my food box came with a little problem. My bag of lentils had a small hole in it, and the lentils spilled.

I emailed Blue Apron that morning, and two hours later this is the response I got:

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4 Things Every Supervisor Should Be Doing to Address Unacceptable Employee Performance

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Story highlights:

Setting clear expectations, getting employees to agree on performance gaps, explaining consequences of not meeting expectations and follow-through are key in managing employee performance 

I had to take my daughter’s phone from her last week. I don’t like that I had to do that, but I had a responsibility to take her phone. We have a rule in our house. Having a smartphone is a privilege and certain actions can result in a phone being taken away. One of those actions is a grade of a C or lower. My daughter’s Pre-AP Algebra 2 grade dropped to a 77%.

From the day we bought her first phone, my daughter has always known that any grade less than a B will result in loss of phone privileges. My daughter can see her grades daily online, as can her father and I. The expectations are set and clear. She has every possible opportunity to keep her phone, simply by maintaining excellent grades.

Yield

So, I don’t have to feel guilty about taking her phone away. There’s no benefit to her for me to go soft and let her slide. For what would I be teaching her if I let her slide? I’d be teaching her that she can slack and get away with it. She’d learn that my word is not solid. The focus and determination in academics my husband and I are trying to instill in her would be harder for us to teach. So, the consequences stick and it is indeed for her best.

As a supervisor or manager, can you easily set expectations and deliver consequences?

If you are a parent, you likely can easily set expectations for your child, issue consequences and not feel guilty about it. You know what you’re doing is best for your child. But, can you behave the same way at work?

Can you follow through on consequences, knowing employees were clear on your expectations? Can you discipline your employees without feeling guilty?

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“Wow” Works for Zappos, But It Won’t Work For You – Here’s Why

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A corporate trainer in one of my client organizations is gung-ho on the Zappos culture and she is convinced that what her contact center needs is agents trained to make small talk with customers and empowerment so agents can consistently deliver wow experiences – “Just like Zappos does,” she says.

Now, I love what Zappos has done. I have delivered many a keynote and webinar on the Zappos culture. Zappos is the best at the customer experience, bar none. So understand me when I say this: I respect Zappos. But the Zappos culture will not work for anybody but Zappos.

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That Time When the McDonald’s Happy Meal Didn’t Make My Daughter Happy

 

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Me and Lauren when she was 6 years old

When my daughter was 4 years old McDonald’s was her favorite place to eat out. We always got her the Happy Meal with chicken McNuggets. To this day she’s still not a “burger” person.

One afternoon we stopped at McDonald’s on the way home from pre-school. I placed Lauren’s usual Happy Meal order through the drive-thru speaker.

I drove up to the first window, and the employee opened the window and waited for me to hand him my money. He took my $20 bill, gave me change and the window closed.

I drove up to the second window, it opened, and an employee handed me a small Sprite and a Happy Meal in a bag. I handed the bag and drink to my daughter in the back seat.

As we drove off, my daughter said,

“Mommy, do they talk at this McDonald’s?”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“The people. They didn’t talk when they took your money, and they didn’t say anything when you got the food.”

 

Wow. I actually hadn’t even noticed the lack of verbal communication. Me, the Customer Service Queen didn’t even notice. You know why I didn’t notice? Because rote interactions like this are so common that this felt like the norm. 

But she was right. Other than the voice coming through the drive-thru speaker, there was no verbal communication.

 

It just so happened that 5 weeks to the day from this muted drive-thru experience, I was scheduled to deliver a keynote at Hamburger University, on the campus of the McDonald’s worldwide headquarters outside of Chicago.

I’m a storyteller. I had to tell this story to my audience of McDonald’s managers and executives. So I did. I opened my keynote with the story of “Mommy, do they talk at this McDonald’s?”

The audience was stunned. Frozen. Speechless. They may hate me for this, but they needed to hear it. I knew I’d done the right thing. Regardless of how awkward I felt on the big stage at that moment, they needed to hear this.

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