Printing Impressions

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Michael Casey

Pressing Ahead

By Michael Casey

About Michael

Michael Casey is the founder of Survey Advantage and strategic partner with several printer associations and franchises. By leveraging information from a printer’s estimation and production software, Mike’s business has helped hundreds of printers automate their customer feedback and lead generation process. He may be reached via e-mail or (401) 560-0311 ext. 103. Read printer case studies on the Survey Advantage Website.
 

Do You Have Soup Nazis in Your Print Business?

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Remember that Seinfeld episode where the arrogant cook had such addicting soup that people waited in line and put up with his arrogance just to get “the soup?” Everyone called him the Soup Nazi.

I met the Banana Boat Nazi last week while vacationing on Block Island, RI. My son was excited to go on a banana boat ride, which is water tubing on steroids where 10 people hold on for dear life! My son was eager, so I sucked it up.

The Encounter
The Banana Boat Nazi starting barking out orders right from the start.

Banana Boat: “You need to shower before you get on the boat, give me your glasses, hat and anything else you have.” (No smile. Stone cold.)

I started thinking this lady must have had a rough summer and couldn’t wait for it to be over. She acted like the owner and maybe was just having a bad day. I would try to brighten it.

I replied, “I can’t see without my prescription sun glasses so do you think I can wear them as we motor to the tubing area? Also, I am a little light in the hair department so can I wear my hat to avoid sunburn of the head?” All said while chuckling a little to loosen things up and maybe brightening her day.

Banana Boat Nazi: “Well, you are better off leaving your glasses here and being able to see the rest of the day than losing them aren’t you? The hat needs to go. I will do you a favor and put your stuff in my car so nothing happens.”

Again she was stone cold, looking at me like I said something offensive or idiotic! I felt like George Costanza. I starting boiling a bit and thinking, “She didn’t really say that?” I couldn’t go on that boat blind no matter how much she tried to force me. I handed the Banana Nazi my stuff while white knuckling my glasses before she left me blind!

Banana Boat Nazi: (No reaction as she took my stuff).

I was thinking, “I don’t need this abuse and arrogance. I’m leaving.” Then looking at my son, I had a change of heart. I sucked it up and said, “Thank you.” With a smile of course!

At that point we met two other people working the boat. They were great! Very polite and made the trip a memorable one. The driver with dread locks was awesome and fit the part perfectly, looking like he grew up water skiing and knew how to throw people! They explained to me right out of the gate why I could not wear my glasses on the boat. It made perfect sense since I was getting dragged out on the tube from the dock! Why didn’t she say that?

Customer service people make or break the deal. They got lucky this time.

Lessons learned:

1) Be careful with who works directly with customers. They may be blowing deals before you have a chance to know about it. The best customer service people are other-centered, patient and listen to customers. Do you have employees who work directly with customers, but are not trained in customer service skills? Be careful.
 
2) Don’t assume prospects and customers know the reasons you do what you do. I now know why I could not bring my glasses and hat, but the Banana Boat Nazi did not listen to me, explain and communicate the reasons! Do customers know why you do what you do?

3) Customer service people must start with communicating before you can show what your product or service does. It all starts with connecting and communicating the way your customers prefer. Be flexible and change your communication approach to fit your customer.

4) No product or service is so good that customers will put up with arrogance to get the goods. The Soup Nazi found this out the hard way and hopefully the Banana Boat Nazi figures this out before it is too late.

Is your shop just pumping out product or are you in the customer service business? The end product is important, but customers want to buy from those they can connect with. Think about all your employees who interact directly with customers. Make sure they have the skills. If not, train them or shelter them from customers.

Industry Centers:

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Most Recent Comments:
Gina Danner - Posted on September 09, 2010
Customer Service is a skill that can be learned. I'm constantly amazed at the number of businesses who don't bother to train their customer facing staff. I know when I experience bizarre client facing behavior as a customer I pull a "pattern interrupt". It sets the offender back a minute and makes him/her realize the error of their ways... For example, if someone in client service is rude I am likely to return a very confused look and say something like, "I'm sorry... I didn't hear you... This morning's chemo treatment must have affected my hearing." Yes it's bold and maybe a bit rude, but it gives the other person cause to pause.
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Archived Comments:
Gina Danner - Posted on September 09, 2010
Customer Service is a skill that can be learned. I'm constantly amazed at the number of businesses who don't bother to train their customer facing staff. I know when I experience bizarre client facing behavior as a customer I pull a "pattern interrupt". It sets the offender back a minute and makes him/her realize the error of their ways... For example, if someone in client service is rude I am likely to return a very confused look and say something like, "I'm sorry... I didn't hear you... This morning's chemo treatment must have affected my hearing." Yes it's bold and maybe a bit rude, but it gives the other person cause to pause.