No versus How

A Tale of Two Petoskeys

Leadership is customer service and customer service should empower leadership in employees.
Great customer service isn’t just about end-users, clients and customers. Employees, managers and stockholders are just a few examples of internal customers that great leaders need to include in their great customer service goals.

Two recent stories from friends in Petoskey, MI brought this to my attention.

The Tale of NO

A friend reports that he went to a local Petoskey pub the other day to play some cribbage and redeem two $25 certificates from the pub’s frequent diner program – the basic thought being to use both certificates up. When the tab arrived, the bill was $44, so a dessert was ordered. When the bill was presented, both certificates were presented and the waitress went off to settle the bill. The waitress soon returned with the manager who informed my friend that only one coupon could be redeemed at a time – this in spite of the fact that nowhere on the certificates is there any such caveat to redeeming more than one certificate at a time.

My friend later realized that he could have simply asked to have the bill split and then he and his cribbage partner could have each used a coupon. A solution that was beyond the scope of a manager locked into NO.

The Tale of How

The Petoskey Library has a new Director, Valerie Meyerson Рwelcome to Petoskey. Inside sources reveal that at her first meeting with her library staff, Valerie asked her staff to create a list of all the NOs they use with library patrons and each other. Once the list was compiled, Valerie asked the staff РHow do we get rid of these NOs? Valerie is all about the HOW. How can we serve visitors better? What other options are there than NO?

The pub manager not only missed an opportunity to provide great customer service while educating a customer about a limitation on their rewards program, he also missed a greater opportunity to demonstrate to his employee that there are other options than NO. Inflexible rules, guidelines and those bound to them are a challenge to creating an empowered work environment where everyone can contribute to great customer service.