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Ann Phillips, a Senior Consulting Partner with The Ken Blanchard Companies was in the retail store of a well-known computer company. Working with a store associate she quickly found what she was looking for. When she asked the young man helping her where to pay for her purchase (no check-out lanes in this high tech environment) he asked her if she had the “app” for the company with an account.
She said “yes” and he walked her through a wireless checkout process right where they stood. He also told her that she could save additional time on her next time in the store by downloading an additional app that would allow her to choose, scan, and complete her purchase with no sales associate interaction required. She could just leave with her product.
”Isn’t there a sales associate, staff member, or security guard I need to check with as I exit the store?” Ms Phillips asked. “No, not necessary,” he said.
“Well how do you know people won’t just walk out the door without paying?” she asked. And when he answered she was kind of embarrassed that she asked the question in the first question place. His answer was, “We assume positive intentions.”
“WOW!” was all Ms Phillips could say, amazed at their trusting nature.
A Little Reflection While Driving Home
The experience stayed with her. As she left the store she thought about the store’s positive assumptions about their customers versus her own negative assumptions. Ms Phillips certainly wouldn’t leave the store without paying for my merchandise, why would she assume that others would? Most of us have positive intentions—what’s the cost of assuming that your customers don’t?
Our attitudes impact our behaviours. What if we assumed positive intentions on the part of our customers? How would assuming positive intentions impact and/or change how you approach your service delivery?
Ready To Give It a Try?
Take a look at the policies and procedures you currently have in place. What message is it sending to your customers? Are there some service bottlenecks being caused by negative assumptions?
What can you do to remove those bottlenecks and demonstrate to customers that you value them, assume the best from them, and hold them in high regard? What are some new policies that you could put in place with this new found attitude that would let you delight customers?
Ms Phillips knows that her experience at the Apple Store made her feel trusted, valued, and highly regarded. That’s a good feeling—and one that she will come back to experience. Isn’t that the feeling you want your customers to have when they interact with you?
About the author:
Ann Phillips is a Senior Consulting Partner with The Ken Blanchard Companies where she specializes in consulting and
keynoting on customer loyalty, employee engagement, leadership, organizational change, and team building..
First published on Blanchard LeaderChat
27 January 2014