You may have seen the commercials for one of those garden hoses that fits in your pocket. When you put it on the valve outside your home and turn on the water, it expands to 50 feet. When you’re done and turn off the water, it contracts and fits right back in your pocket.
Jamie had only been at his new job for 2 weeks at the hardware store, and he witnessed just how important some of these expandable/retractable hoses are to the homeowners. A frantic homeowner came in – somebody who had bought one of these hoses from one of Jamie’s co-workers a week ago, and the customer was upset. She had been so excited about the new hose, but when she turned on the water, it did not expand fully; when she turned off the water, it didn’t contract.
It was a garden hose emergency! Oh, the horror!
Now, for 99% of us, a garden hose that doesn’t fully expand or contract is not the end of the world. And maybe to this customer, it was not the end of the world either; however, she was initially so excited about a product that was, now, not performing as designed.
Jamie’s first thought was: This customer is WAY overreacting. But his second thought was: I better not convey that I think she’s overreacting.
Luckily, Jamie had some training on Key Principles of Situational Service. So, he provided some Empathy, explaining his understanding of what went wrong to the customer, what she expected to happen versus how the hose actually performed. He was Patient with her, listening and not rushing her along. He tried to be Helpful, facilitating a resolution, whether it was initially with the use of the hose and then finally finding an alternative. He Explained the product exchange process and Why the process was needed, and he did everything with Respect and Courtesy.
Sometimes the issues you are presented with seem like they should be no big deal, but for whatever reason, they are a big deal to the customer.
Apply Jamie’s Key Principles of Situational Service to make sure all of these situations turn out well from the customer’s perspective.