My girlfriend and I had a visit to a well known Fried Chicken fast-food chain last week (we know how to spoil ourselves!), and the unthinkable happened: An employee broke the rules and made us very happy customers!
After placing our order and deciding not to upgrade to large meals, we had a conversation between ourselves about whether or not we regretted not upgrading (I’m sure you’ve all had the same conversation). My girlfriend made the comment that she normally only upgrades so she can have large fries, as she normally can’t manage a large drink. Thinking nothing more of this the conversation moved on to other things.
Moments later, when our food was ready and the employee handed it over she commented that she had upgraded my girlfriends fries to a large, without charge. This made us extremely happy for three reasons:
- It shows that the employee took the time to listen, to care and to act. All too often one of these goes missing from the service encounter
- We have become used to the employees in this particular chain acting like cogs in a lifeless machine. The fact that there is even one employee who is breaking the mould and going above and beyond makes me happy
- Its not the extra fries that matter, otherwise we would be extremely easily pleased (not to mention cheap ). Its the generosity of spirit that small acts like this make, that can transform a customers experience with a service. Stan Phelps calls this a Purple Goldfish and is gathering loads of examples of these over at his Marketing Lagniappe site
Little things really matter and the only way employees can deliver the little things is to be given the freedom and the permission to do so.
So this got me thinking, what would happen if employees were allowed to break the rules to exceed customer expectations? What would happen if the rulebooks were scrapped completely? How could this transform an experience? And most importantly, how have acts like this transformed experiences you have had?
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