I love soft skills. Soft skills are used by customer service representatives, especially in a phone call setting where neither party can see the other, to add quality to a call. Voice tone is an example. All of us have heard a contact center representative with awful voice tone — maybe they sound like they’d rather be home watching “The Hills” (or maybe they sound like they are watching “The Hills”) while trying to simultaneously serve you. Soft skills are an art. If your contact center is trying to sell something, the rep who gives me accurate information with nice soft skills is more likely to get my money than the rep who gives me accurate information without. And the rep who gives me inaccurate information may cost their employer the human resource time involved in me calling another rep to make sure the information I heard the first time was right.
But tonight’s blog isn’t about a phone call. It is about this:
“This” is the machine printing out my receipt at Subway yesterday. I am glad Subway gave me a receipt for my purchase. I am glad my “Sandwich Artist” used great soft skills to take my order. What I am not so glad about is that, although she used great soft skills, she provided the following instruction to me as the receipt was printing out:
“When the first receipt prints out, you can just take it.”
Now, it may seem trite to quibble about being told to rip off my own receipt. She appeared to be the only Sandwich Artist on duty and a line was forming. Before I complete my mini soapbox rant, here’s the Sandwich Artist position summary:
Tasks and Responsibilities:
1. Prepares food neatly, accurately, and in a timely way.
2. Demonstrates a complete understanding of menu items and explains it to guests accurately. Exhibits a cheerful and helpful manner when dealing with guests.
3. Checks products in sandwich unit area and restocks items to ensure a sufficient supply throughout the shift.
4. Cleans as directed.
5. Greets guests and prepares their orders, uses Point of Sale system/cash register to record the order and computes the amount of the bill, collects payment from guests and makes change.
6. Understands and adheres to all quality standards, formulas and procedures as outlined in the Operations Manual.
7. Accounts for all forms of money, bread, etc. during the shift
8. Understands and adheres to proper food handling, safety and sanitization standards while preparing food, serving food, and clean up.
9. Maintains professional appearance and grooming standards as outlined in the Operations Manual.
10. Performs light paperwork duties as assigned.
Ostensibly, her goal was to comply with the “timely way” required in task #1, and that took precedence over the “light paperwork” in task #10. (And task #5 does not specifically say that the Sandwich Artist should provide a receipt for a Point of Sale system transaction, just that it should be used to record the order and compute the amount of the bill.) However, in the time it took her to instruct me to tear off my own receipt, she could have done it herself.
Of course, if she had done it herself, or even if she had not mentioned the receipt, I probably wouldn’t be writing about Subway tonight. In a sort of “inside out” customer service way, she should get kudos for talking me through the process and ensuring I had documentation of my visit.
But still……….if I am spending money at your business, you should complete the transaction, not me. In almost 16 years of working at Healthy Kids, I have found myself frustrated when I have had to ask families to do some of the follow up work for problems not of their own making (I am sure they felt the same way). I know I have provided customer service that did not meet my own exacting standards.
Rebecca Morgan’s blog cites examples of customer service delight, including the fact that Burger Kings in Brazil clandestinely take customers’ pictures and then produce those pictures as a surprise on the customers’ Whopper wrappers!
I wasn’t asking for my picture on my Subway receipt, just for my Sandwich Artist to do her own “light paperwork duties as assigned.”
I’ll “run” into you next week, readers!
Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.