Exceeding Expectations a personal story
Last month I invited you to read my story of how with the best of intentions, I nevertheless, was not able to meet, much less exceed, the expectations of a visitor to our house. We all have stories like mine that we can share about how companies have let us down. I have a client that believes that because customers have been receiving mediocre service for so long, they no longer know what great service is.
So in this article I will challenge you to think about what makes up exceptional service. When have you received it? When have you provided it? And what made it exceptional?
And I offer this personal story.
Most everyone has heard of Southwest Airlines and subsequent comments about their great service. In fact they are one of the poster children for the service industry and used so often that I bet you are considering not reading further because you have realized that this is another story about Southwest Airlines.
Please read on, because, although SW is the only major airline that is profitable, has not undergone bankruptcy while still maintaining very competitive fares and no layoffs; this is a personal story - and it comes with a movie. So get your popcorn and enjoy.
A couple of months ago a client contacted me with a news article on SW with the comment, "Thought this would be of interest to all of us. This is where we want to be." The news article included a link to a video clip on the company. The article was great, as you would expect (meeting expectations). I therefore wanted a copy of the video so that I could use it as a coaching tool.
Not knowing where to start, I called Southwest. Found the number on their website. Of course I chose the customer service line. (Here it comes. Are you ready?) The person that answers, listens to my story and request, then says,"Bruce (we had chatted by now, so she felt comfortable using my first name), I will find someone to help you."
Michael Ann, (we laughed about her name), listens to my request and explains that she will find out if and how to get me a copy of the story. She promises to call me back. Two days later she calls, apologizing for the delay but explains that she called the president to ask her how to get the video. Then she called SW University who took over the project and they called the PR agency, which copied and sent FedEx the video to the address I had given Michael Ann. Understand that this request was not without incident, but she stayed with it all the way, returning calls, and making follow-up calls, until I received the video (free).
So here is my question to you. At what point did she meet, and then exceed my expectations? At what point in the process would they have met and/or exceeded yours?
Now there are a lot of touch points in this story and I encourage you to explore them all. The one that I will leave you with is this - Michael Ann. She is Southwest Airlines to me. I have a statistic on the Front Line Marketing web site that emphasizes that 68% of clients that leave you will do so because of an interaction with one person. Now reverse that thinking, 68% stay with you because of (insert the name Michael Ann) and you will have another perspective on the power of your front line. Can you afford not to give them the training and tools they need to exceed and make you succeed?
Here is the link to myvideo. I encourage you to watch it, because it will give you another perspective on success than the one I just shared. Sparks Fly!
Feel free to use it as you coach. Enjoy!