I was in a company store to make a few changes to my cellphone plan (got a new phone for my 12 year old son, which is a whole 'nuther topic). Got there about thirty minutes before they closed. They were busy. At least six sets of customers in the store at this time. I had to wait about ten minutes to be helped.
My helper was extremely helpful. Friendly and engaged, he understood everything I wanted to do, He did it all flawlessly with good humor. It was a painless transaction, even for one that lasted about thirty minutes past their closing time.
The pain was in watching the woman in tears right outside the door.
Her crime? She showed up one minute late.
This store has a company policy dictated by the insurance company. Lock the doors at closing time. Let no one else in. No one. Not even a woman who had driven six hours in a frantic hurry to get there on time only to find out she was sent to the wrong store and had to cross town in early evening traffic only to arrive one minute too late.
One minute late.
There were still five of us customers in the store.
Now there are only four. One guy, after watching the way they treated this poor lady, put down his iPad purchase and walked out before they swiped his card.
My helper explained that he would lose his job if he tried to help her. Insurance company said it was a liability issue they wouldn't cover. With cameras everywhere, the employees feared losing their jobs more than helping a sobbing lady pick up a phone they were holding for her.
I hope the cameras picked up the fact that this one lady will cause them to lose more business and more money than any liability issue for delighting a customer one minute too late ever could.
Don't let your insurance company dictate your levels of customer service. Delight your customers. The only crying should be tears of joy.
PS My apologies to all the insurance AGENTS out there. The title really should have read "Insurance Companies". But I wanted to get you to read this. Maybe you can talk to the principles at your agency to make sure you don't do this to your clients.
PPS Want to create a culture that consistently puts the needs of the customer first and relishes in delighting them? Start by reading Customer Service: From Weak to WOW! (free download).