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

Adventure Golf

Miniature golf courses, consultants, architecture and design.

Mahoning Valley Mfg.

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

National Rock & Sculpture

Dedicated to the conceptual design and development of themed environments.

Store on Wheels

Importer and distributor of quality toys, lighting and novelties. Cater to the amusement, retail and entertainment industries.

Richie's Italian Ice

Italian Ice Kiosks and Carts

Funovation

Laser maze challenge

Spectrum Sports

Climbing walls, ropes courses, go-karts and more.

Nieco Corp

Nieco automatic broilers.

Subway

Fresh food and sandwich options.

Friedman Group Ins.

Insurance for amusement devices.

California Portable Dance Floor Company

Tear Repair

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

Klopp International, Inc. (Playmeter)

Quality coin counters and sorters.

Lazer Runner

Laser Tag Systems

See Coast Manufacturing Co., Inc.

Coin-operated binoculars and telescopes.

Perfect Fry

Innovative and simple-to-operate countertop deep fryer Perfect Fryers.

Northeast Insurance (NIC)

Insurance programs.

Wells Fargo

Commercial insurance for inflatables and event planners.

Center Edge Software

Facility Management Software Solutions

Tokens Direct

A wide variety of tokens.

Tube Pro

Waterpark tubes.

Art Attack

Theming, miniature golf, parade floats, 3D props, air-brushed murals, signage and art panels.

Gould Manufacturing, Ltd.

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

Sureshot Redemption

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

Deltronic Labs Inc.

Ticket dispensers.

Fast Corp Vending

Frozen food vending machines

Action Lighting Co.

Lighting supplies.

Penny Press

Penny souvenir machine, great for parks, FECs, bowling and skating centers, museums and tourist attractions.

A'maze Ventures, Inc.

Mazes for every location, new and used.

Poly Products

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

Formula K Raceways

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

R&R Creative Amusement Design

Designers of unique themed parks, attractions and environments for the entertainment business.

Hamilton Manufacturing Corp.

Manufacturer of unattended entry systems and change machines.

Cost of Wisconson

Creators of simulated environments, duplicate structures, sculpted figures, exhibits, water features, mini-golf and more.

Omega Carpets

Printed carpeting for all your facility needs.

S&S Worldwide

Large Park amusement rides.

Amusement Entertainment Management (AEM)

Premier entertainment consultants.

Precision Dynamics (PDC)

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

Zebec Water Sports

Large variety of waterpark needs

Sacoa

Designed and manufactures PlayCard, the rechargeable debit card system.

Master Pitching Machine

Batting cages and pitching machines.

Aquaventronics

Research and development of interactive water games for use in the commercial amusement industry.

Rio Syrup

Over 250 flavors, syrups and concentrates for shaved ice, sno cones, shushes, food colors. Now featuring Hawaiian Flower Cups.

Playsmart

Patented soft play design, soft playgrounds.

CFX Composite & Effects

Special effects make-up and prosthetics

U.S. Bowling

Award-winning independent company brings bowling to your venue.

Martin Professionals

A lighting supplier of choice for the entertainment industry.

Laser Star

Laser shooting galleries, laser tag, dark ride target systems, overhead target ranges.

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