My beloved Timex Expedition gave out the other day, sending me to Walmart in search of a battery. My expectations were low — very low. No one was at the jewelry counter. After waiting a few minutes, I ventured into the adjacent department to find a sales person.
She was on the floor, restocking. At my “Excuse me, but do you know..,” she jumped up, stepped over to the jewelry counter and reassured me she’d take care of me — which is exactly what she did. She:
- Checked the inventory – no battery
- Pulled a reference card out of the back of a drawer and identified substitutes
- Raced to the camera department to locate a battery that would fit
- Popped off the back of my watch
- Replaced the battery
- Fitted the watch band
- Helped me fit it on my wrist
All the while, this smiling professional told how much she enjoyed working for Walmart and how well it treats its employees. ”Don’t believe what you hear,” she said. “I’ve been here 17 years, and I wouldn’t work anywhere else.”
I left the store recharged (no pun intended). All for $6.47, less than the cost of a movie. In just a few minutes, I’d had a crash course on the art of customer service.
I learned a lot from that interaction. Lots of people — including me — are paid to be nice. But boots-on-the-ground customer service teaches you about the impact of your behavior on other people, who pass it on, and on, and on — down the chain of a day’s many interactions. I can’t pass the store without thinking of how good I felt, and what a remarkable proof point Walmart has in their employee.
I’m going to keep this front-of-mind as we enter the holiday season, so loaded with must-do’s, I’m-in-a-hurry’s, and I-don’t-have-time-to-wait’s. Take a cue from that extraordinary salesperson at Walmart: Surprise people. They’ll remember you.