Saturday, November 15, 2008

Overheard in the Produce Aisle......

The other day I was working in one of our stores when one of the Team Members came up to the new Store Team Leader and said, "There's a Customer over here looking for the Store Manager". Most of the time, that means somebody isn't happy, and it's the Team Leader's job to "Fix It". This Team Leader, wiser than his years, knows how to deal with customers. Trevor had been the Team Leader at this store for only a couple of weeks, but he knew just how to handle the situation. As he approached the obviously unhappy shopper, she proceeded to tell him that she had just moved to this area and couldn't find five things in the store that we stocked in her former location. Trevor turned the conversation around to a positive one, stating that he too had noticed that the store was missing some standard items. He jokingly said, "It's a good thing you didn't get here last week. That was my first week, and this store has been without a Team Leader for a few weeks. I noticed, too, that we were out of quite a few things. We've been working on getting everything back in stock again."

As the conversation ended, the customer was smiling, understood the situation and was looking forward to coming back, probably to see if Trevor would make good on his promise! She and the new StoreTeam Leader have "bonded". I am pretty sure that this new customer will be a loyal one, thanks to Trevor's sincere and friendly attitude!

The moral of this story? It's not the situation itself, but how we handle it that really matters!

Trevor really did make both their days- and mine, "Great Ones"!


Serving Customers Makes ME Smile!

This past week I traveled on business with a colleague and friend. He admitted as we were leaving Atlanta that he had "gotten into a funk" over the past week and was just plain unhappy in general. We know each other pretty well, so over the next few days I just kept on in my normal manner, hoping that a few smiles and laughs would help him climb out of the doldrums. As our conversations carried on during the week it became clear why my buddy had been so stressed out. He had been cooped up in the office for way too long! We’re in the customer service business, and he had missing his customers!

As we worked together over the next couple of days, we both spent a lot of time on the sales floors with our team members. A number of times I happened to notice him striking up conversations with customers. The more he became engaged with the customers the bigger the smile that appeared on his face! Even better was that the customers wore big smiles on their faces, too! They were both making each other’s day Great!

Customer service, isn’t it fun? The better service you provide to your customers, the better you feel personally. All we have to do is figure out how to get everyone in the customer service business to realize that they will feel so much better if they just enjoy doing their job!

Oh, by the way. When we got back to Atlanta my friend was back to his usual, cheery self, even though we had plane delays and didn’t get back until after midnight.

Have a great week, everybody, and don’t forget….The Day IS what you make it, so make YOURS a GREAT one!


Real Estate in Any Language

As a Realtor, I have the privilege and pleasure of working with people who have come to Atlanta from many countries and cultures. In fact, this opportunity to make friends from so many places and learn about and appreciate their customs, is one of my favorite pieces of the relocation puzzle. The bad part for me, though, is when my clients move back to their home country after their home is sold! As a result of sales this past year, I now have friends in The Netherlands and Columbia, but I have new friends from Pakistan and Ireland!
Even in my Keller Williams office of 100 agents, we are a very diverse group of people from many countries. Countries represented among my colleagues include India, Iran, U.K., Italy, Peru, Argentina, New Zealand, and I’m sure several others that I have missed. I’m from Wisconsin, and of course, my friends give me a hard time about my “accent”. “What accent”?
So, my agent friends and I thought it would be fun and educational to put together a panel discussion featuring the agents in our office who have come to us from other countries. Our first Cultural Awareness Panel Discussion was even better than I had hoped, and we all learned so much about each other! Our primary goal was to learn more so that we could make a better impression when working with international clients, but I think something even more important happened. We began to realize that even though we come from so many places with such different customs, all people need to be listened to and appreciated. We love to feel welcomed and respected. Isn’t it great that a smile is the same in any language?