Customer service goes for the gold

Column by Michael Norton

Posted

Really, I have to share with you my most recent shopping experiences. You see it wasn't the “terrible” or even “horrific” event that caught my attention, but rather a series of employee and consumer interactions that were so over-the-top “better than good” that I felt compelled to recognize the full-time and part-time employees in our local stores and shops.

As a coach and trainer to the sales profession I thought I may have been having an “out of body experience” during my most recent day of shopping. I had many stores to frequent that day as I prepared for my daughter's birthday, a vacation and a business trip. My checklist was ready, the stores identified, and “in-and-out” of each store was my mantra. I expected the worst and received the best.

And then it happened. “What may I help you shop for today?” That was the greeting I received by a bright-eyed and enthusiastic 17- or 18-year-old girl who prior to my entry was straightening up the shelves in the store. Her genuine smile and eager interest caught my attention. However, I knew what I needed and proceeded to grab those items and headed straight for the checkout line.

Although the service was awesome, I didn't pay particular attention to the experience as I hurried to the next store on my list. And once again I was greeted with an energetic smile and welcome when I entered the shop.

Please keep in mind that I teach people how to sell, how to manage and how to provide exceptional customer service. These were not my clients and I was feeling like all of a sudden every store that I entered, the staff was going out of their way to make sure that my shopping needs were taken care of. Was someone setting me up? Or did the retail world undergo a radical change? Did teenagers and young adults become aware of how important their role is to the success of the store that they represent and to the shopper's experience? These were the thoughts that went racing through my mind after each and every store I visited that day. Each store visit was better than the previous one.

So I applaud the extraordinary customer service efforts of our local store owners and employees. I congratulate the teams and individuals that made my day of shopping “better than good.” I am grateful for the management teams that have trained and shared their experiences with the newest of sales associates so they are better equipped and ready to provide an incredible shopping experience.

I am not sure about you, but whenever I receive a level of service that is above and beyond my expectation, I want to recognize and appreciate the people responsible. So after the first two stores where I thought it may have been an anomaly, it was a refreshing and unexpected surprise to receive the same treatment in every store I shopped in that day.

These are our friends and family members who work in these stores and put forth this effort. These are people we know and love and hang out with each and every day but maybe fail to recognize or appreciate them for what they do. Please join me in saying “thank you” whenever we can.

Dealing with the public is not always easy, as people can be extremely demanding sometimes. However my most recent observations and actual experiences have proved to me that we are surrounded by fantastic sales associates who care about us as a consumer.

If you are a store owner, manager, sales associate or member of the customer care team I just want to say how much I appreciate you and all that you do, thank you.

Have you had an exceptional shopping or customer service experience? I would love to hear all about it at gotonorton@gmail.com and I hope that you will have a better than good week.

Michael Norton, a resident of Highlands Ranch, is the former president of the Zig Ziglar organization and CEO and founder of www.candogo.com