About a year ago, I took my family to one the most prestigious museums in New York City. As suggested via the museum website, I ordered tickets online to speed up the entry process. However, almost everyone these days orders their tickets in advance, so therefore the majority of all of the museum visitors are required to visit the will-call desk. Now to digress somewhat…did anyone ever hear the expression, ‘you only have one opportunity to make a great first impression’?
Back to getting our tickets; we were standing in line with our families and there was only one woman who was working behind the counter. Who was this person who had the opportunity to interact with every customer? Who was this person making the museum’s first impression? She was one of the most hostile people I have ever met or seen!
I’m not sure how many of you saw the popular 2006 movie, The Devil Wears Prada, with Meryl Streep. Meryl’s character, Miranda, is a merciless, posh and cruel woman, who enjoyed making everyone’s experience with her a living nightmare. There behind the will-call desk was Miranda. She was mean, nasty, and sarcastic. She was practically growling at everyone who approached the ticket counter. Everyone on line was dreading their encounter with this woman.
Now why would any organization hire a Miranda and place her at a spot where a guest’s first interaction will unfortunately result in a horrible and terribly memorable experience? I don’t have a clue. All I was thinking about was how this prestigious museum must have a Board of Directors to match. But does anyone know who is doing the hiring? I guess not.
Organizations, whether they are retail establishments, museums, medical offices, phone centers or e-commerce businesses, that want to obtain repeat customers, should hire and train their associates to be Welcomers: staff members that will make customers feel welcomed, important and appreciated. There is no mystery, there is no secret, it is just common sense. Those establishments that hire associates who act and think robotically and that are indifferent or hostile to customers, certainly leave themselves vulnerable to the next competitor who sets up shop or designs and implements a customer friendly online shopping experience. Unfortunately, it happens too often; too many companies just don’t think.
How many times have you left a place of business thinking, ‘who hired these folks?’
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