Ice cream is one of my favourite summer treats. There’s nothing quite like a delicious creamy ice cream on a hot summer’s day.
I like ice cream, but my friend Natalie LOOOOVES ice cream. So much so that she has a book with 101 ice cream recipes that she’s consistently working her way through. I don’t mind because we get to enjoy the spoils, but it sure does seem like a lot of work to make it manually.
“Why not get an ice cream machine?” I asked her more than once, to which she replied that the only ones available made only half a litre of ice cream and were relatively expensive, and going the route of a larger industrial machine just wasn’t practical.
After a scouring the web, though, it was with great excitement she discovered the exact machine she needed. The best part was that even though it was only available in the USA, she would be travelling there to visit family. Natalie could finally have her dream of her very own ice cream machine. I’d never seen someone so excited about an appliance, and so naturally when she returned from her trip, the first thing I asked her was about the ice cream machine. “Did you get it? Does it work?” I asked her.”Oh yes!” she replied. “And the best was buying it! I’ve never experienced customer service quite like that.”
Now I was curious! An ice cream machine isn’t an everyday sales item, so I couldn’t really imagine what was so special about buying it. As it happens, it wasn’t as much about the product. It was about the amazing sales person who assisted her.
Natalie had found the machine on Best Buy’s website and had located a store where it was in stock. It should have been simply a case of walk in, find the machine and pay for it. However, the store had recently redone the layout. Many items were in storage rather than on the floor and even the sales assistants were challenged to find products. It could have turned into a nightmare, being sent from one person and department to another, had it not been for the amazing sales assistant who stepped in to save the day.
Sarah took ownership of the task to find Natalie the exact make and model of ice cream machine she was looking for. Sarah started by looking up on the store inventory and making sure she knew exactly what Natalie was looking for. Then off she went, armed with the product code and description to search the storerooms. “Don’t mind me,” she said, “you go ahead and browse, I’ll find you again once I’m out of the store room.”
After a short while Sarah emerged. “We don’t have one here, but I’m going to find you one, don’t you worry.” She went back to her computer to find it and made light of the task, engaging Natalie in conversation which took the focus off the hassle of getting the machine. “So you’re going to make ice cream?” Sarah asked. “What flavours? I bet you can make every kind of ice cream under the sun. What’s your favourite?” “Vanilla with salted caramel ripple,” Natalie answered with a smile, thinking of tucking into a bowl of it.
Once Sarah had located a machine, she needed to hand over to her colleague Lilly to place the order. But she proceeded to stand with Natalie in the customer service queue and kept up a running conversation (in which vanilla with salted caramel featured a number of times).
When it was Natalie’s turn Sarah explained in detail to Lilly what needed to be done. The shipping date showed up for a day that the family would be out on a planned excursion. “No problem,” said Sarah. “We’ll expedite it and cancel the expediting fee. That way you’ll have it before you go away. Let me just get my supervisor to okay that for you.” And just like that, it was done. No hassle, no inconvenience and no extra cost. The following week, Natalie’s ice cream machine arrived as promised.
As Natalie told me her story, I could only smile. Whether Sarah knows it or not, she has customer service down to a fine art. She constantly engaged with Natalie, letting her know what was happening and assured her that her problem would be easy to solve. She took ownership of the task and explored every angle to find a solution to get the product. There’s no doubt she knew the store and effortlessly navigated her way to getting Natalie her ice cream machine. And most importantly she kept the focus on helping Natalie, taking the stress out of what could have ended up being a frustrating situation. Using her Southern charm, Sarah made the whole process seamless – like customer service should be. Even making Natalie dream of making her favourite ice cream. I’d better remind her, I’ll be the first in line for that sample!
This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of Carolyn Blunt