What Does The Guest Hear?

September 6, 2012 4 Comments

Blog Editor Allen F. Weitzel has been a trailblazer in the recreation field for 45 seasons, most recently leading the safety and training department at a California amusement park for 25 seasons.

By Allen F. Weitzel

My car was getting poor gas mileage, so when I took it in for service, I asked to have my low-restriction reusable air filter removed and cleaned. I get better gas mileage using this type filter. While the car was being serviced, I was told it only had a stock paper air filter in it. I surmised that at the previous visit the service tech must have removed my reusable filter and replaced it with a stock filter instead.

I wanted the dealership to pay for a replacement filter, but proving that the dealership was in error would not be easy. I was not 100 percent sure I was 100 percent right. (See Customer Service Lessons From Goats – http://tapmag.com/2011/09/21/customer-service-lessons-from-goats/) We compromised with me buying a new filter and they installing it at no charge.

I called an auto parts store. I told the employee what I needed and the kind of car I had. He said he had the correct filter in stock. I told him I would come in the next day. He said they could only hold it for that day, but even if someone bought it, they could order another and have it in two hours. That is what I thought I heard.

Much Ado About Nothing

The next morning I went to parts store to buy the filter on the way to a doctor’s appointment. I told the employee why I was there. He said, without checking, that they did not have the filter. The employee said they never had one in stock to begin with. I shared my recall of my previous phone call. The employee then told me that he was the one I spoke to and I had it all wrong – there never was one in stock. He then lectured me on his version of the call. No apology about a possible misunderstanding, he just told me I was wrong. Wow!

I asked if the filter could be ordered for same day delivery; he said yes. I said to myself, “Okay, he is bizarre, but if I get the filter today, I can still get it installed before the weekend.” He then wanted my phone number, so I gave him my home number. He said he would call when the part arrived, but it would be within two hours. I told him there was no need to call because I would just return after my appointment. He then asked if I would be at the number, I gave him. “No, I will be at the doctor’s office.” Then he wanted my cell phone number. I gave it to him, but told him the phone would be off, because I only use it for emergencies. He was happy that he had the cell number anyway. He said he would call. I left. Whew, what an ordeal!

The Saga Continued

While I was at my doctor appointment, a voice mail came to my phone saying that the part was at the store. I returned to the store. I found the employee and said I was there to pick up the part. He asked if I got a call. I said I did. He said that he did not call me. I told him someone left a voice mail that the part was in. He was upset that someone else made the call, not him. He sent another employee to get the filter. I asked him to confirm that we had the correct filter. He did do that. As he was ringing up the sale, he started giving me a sales pitch for the filter I was already buying. I did not need his sales pitch. It became clear that this employee wanted to have the last word, and to always be right. He wanted to know more than the customer.

The Message

A management friend of mine has a saying, “Customers are not always right, but they do know what they want!” Let your customers save face. The product may be the same at different businesses, but if the service is outstanding at one business rather than the other, the customer will return to the business where they get good, helpful service. The customer does not want to hear that they are wrong, or listen to employee opinions. When employees think that they are always right and they say so, they feel good about their accuracy, but you may lose a customer. As I tell my leadership students, “customer service is not about always being right, it is about staying in business.” Management needs to really listen to what the employees are saying to their customers.

Back
4 Comments to “What Does The Guest Hear?”
  1. Jay Douglas says:

    I wouldn’t have bought the filter there after that ordeal.

    • Jay, I hear you, but I was on a time schedule, so I sucked it up and did my business there. However, I did come away with a Blog idea, and hopefully some managers will read it and use the lesson to improve the customer service that their operation provides. Thanks for reading and sharing your view. Always, very much appreciated. Best, Allen

  2. Paul Warren says:

    Dear Mr. Weitzel:

    You are so right! I have some employees who try to impress the customers with their “knowledge.” I remind them that we’re not
    in business to match wits with the customer, but to satisfy their
    needs and wants, and sometimes what they want is to feel respected
    and appreciated.

    A very good reminder sir. Thank you.

    Paul Warren

    • Dear Paul, Good point and the silent answer that the Guest gives is that they never return as a customer. I had a trainer who worked for me, who absolutely lived by that rule: if he received bad service (of any kind), he never went back. He did pound that concept into his trainees. Thanks for your follow up. Best, Allen

Sponsors

Xtreme Inflatables

Repair and service for all inflatable products.

Challenger Industries

Sports surfaces, carpets and mini-golf surfaces.

Harris Miniature Golf Course

Design and construction of miniature golf courses and water rides.

Funovation

Laser maze challenge

Lil Orbits Inc.

Food equipment, donut machines and vendor carts.

Tokens Direct

A wide variety of tokens.

GloCones

Flashing cotton candy cones.

Wapello Fabrications

Inflatables and portable amusements.

Splashtacular

Manufacturer of waterslides

Thomco Insurance (Fun Pro)

Fun Pro is an insurance program especially designed for party planners and party rental businesses.

Kay Park Recreations Corp.

Picnic tables, grills, park benches, planters, trash containers and more.

Precision Dynamics (PDC)

Wristbands with no hidden costs, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Wristband System.

Tear Repair

Tear-Aid industrial strength patches to repair holes and tears.

Deltronic Labs Inc.

Ticket dispensers.

Rides-4-U, INC.

New and used rides, kiddie, family, major and thrill.

Weldon, Williams & Lick

Admission systems and wristband ticketing.

Quik N' Crispy (QNC)

Quik n’ Crispy greaseless fryer.

Price Chopper, Inc. Wristbands

Admission, financial equipment and wristbands.

Tube Pro

Waterpark tubes.

See Coast Manufacturing Co., Inc.

Coin-operated binoculars and telescopes.

Muncie Novelty Co., Inc.

Admissions, financial equipment, printing and tickets.

Sippers By Design

Design and manufacture of specialty custom-shaped drink containers.

Wells Fargo

Commercial insurance for inflatables and event planners.

Enchanted Castle Studios

Fiberglass statuary and figures for restaurants, mini-golf, theme parks and other attractions.

Klopp International, Inc. (Playmeter)

Quality coin counters and sorters.

A'maze Ventures, Inc.

Mazes for every location, new and used.

Master Pitching Machine

Batting cages and pitching machines.

Amusement Entertainment Management (AEM)

Premier entertainment consultants.

Formula K Raceways

Go-karts, kiddie cars and bumper boats, go-kart parts and tires.

S&S Worldwide

Large Park amusement rides.

Family Fun Corp.

Waterpark walls for rivers, bumper boat and splash down pools.

Water Wars (T&D Enterprises of Brainerd)

Water Wars water balloon game, portable or startionary.

Lazer Runner

Laser Tag Systems

Sureshot Redemption

One-stop source for prize redemption counters at entertainment centers.

Bulbtronics

A premier source for lamps, LEDs, batteries and lighting-related and electrical products.

Davis & Davis, Inc.

Planning consultants for wet/dry attractions, mini-golf, go-kart tracks and laser arenas.

Center Edge Software

Facility Management Software Solutions

Poly Products

Tables, benches and related products. Green products for a green world.

Mahoning Valley Mfg.

A complete line of Imperial strollers, wagons and safari utility vehicles.

Beckman Insurance Agency

Amusement attractions insurance.

Barron Games

Redemption air hockey games.

Hoffman Mint

Tokens, medals, coins and key tags.

Playsmart

Patented soft play design, soft playgrounds.

Zebec Water Sports

Large variety of waterpark needs

Martin Professionals

A lighting supplier of choice for the entertainment industry.

Gould Manufacturing, Ltd.

Concession trailers and Antique, Jeep and Grand Prix auto rides.

Johnny Rockets
LMap Powered by Silvercrest
Premier Polysteel
Spectrum Sports
Cannonball Blaster
Funovation
Empex Water Toys