Last week my family and I visited the World of Coke in Atlanta, Georgia. We had a good time and I’d recommend it to anyone interested in Coke or its memorabilia. But what really stood out for me was the pleasant and friendly demeanor of every one of the employees I came into contact with.
I don’t think this was an accident. Employees made eye contact, smiled, and wished us a pleasant day. They responded to questions in a friendly manner despite, I’m sure, having heard the same questions a million times before.
You might expect this from employees who were just stationed throughout the complex, but even in the gift shop, where every customer had to go through before they exited, staff were extremely pleasant.And the gift shop was very busy. Employees were busy restocking merchandise as fast as it was sold, yet when interrupted with a customer’s question, each was friendly and helpful. My wife couldn’t find a particular size of shirt and asked an employee for help. She stopped her restocking and went downstairs to the “back room” and looked, but couldn’t find it. At no time did we feel like we were imposing on her.
Contrast that with the experiences many of us have when we interrupt a retail sales person who is restocking a display and you’ll know what I mean.
Here’s what I would take away from the World of Coke if I were a retailer:
- Hire people with outgoing personalities who smile instinctively
- Create expectations concerning how visitors should be greeted and assisted
- Hold the staff accountable for these expectations
- Create feedback mechanisms to monitor compliance
- Reward those who exceed the need and coach those who don’t.
Instilling this positive attitude into employees no doubt helps them spot problems faster as well as contributing to the overall customer service experience. It also decreases the odds of negative word of mouth.
If the World of Coke can hire and train staff to be pleasant and friendly to customers, so can retailers.