What You Want vs. What You Get

Today I had actually intended to talk about a great customer service experience I had related to blogging, but have put that off for a few days (I’m working on finished with a special addon to the post).

So today I am going to talk about what you want when hiring versus what you actually end up getting. Sometimes it is quite interesting to read what companies are wanting and then to look at the type of employees working there. The particular example I am going to use is the local Gap store near me.

This is a picture of a sign that I took (using my cellphone, hence the poor quality) at the Gap store near me. You can click it for a full size version.

The sign says: (now hiring) Looking for motivated, enthusiastic (motivated) individuals committed to providing exceptional customer service (committed). Inquire within. (exceptional). Words in () are the big words on the sign.

Pretty nice text, isn’t it? Gap wants motivated and enthusiastic individuals who are committed to providing exceptional customer service. That’s a lot and hard to find at any company. Legendary customer service organizations like Nordstrom, Ritz Carlton, and the like would be probably happy with an employee that fit that description.

It is not hard to tell that this sign was written and created by the home office and not by the local store. It is quite possible that Gap even hired a copy writing or advertising firm/agency to write it up.

Not even six inches from that sign (you can see his arm in the picture, actually) was someone who worked there who did not feet the description. Here is a break down:

  • Motivated. He saw that I was done shopping, but I had to wait at the register for a good minute or two before he bothered to come over and check me out.
  • Enthusastic. Hardly. He didn’t ask if I needed anything else, how was my shopping, how I was, etc. Plus, when he finished ringing me up (in a slow, do I have to be here? fashion), he grunted the wrong price. He then grunted the correct price. As I was leaving, there was no closing – I got my stuff, walked out, and that was it.
  • Individual. He was an individual – can’t argue that. Another lady in the store did say hi to me and seemed quite a bit more friendly, but she was busy doing something else as I was checking out.
  • Comittted. Judging from his performance, I wouldn’t say committed.
  • Exceptional. Hardly. It was a medicore customer service experience at best, and from what I could tell, the person who helped me was no exceptional employee.

Hopefully that example will illustrate what you want versus what you often times end up getting. To ensure you get what you (or at least someone in the company) wants, try following these steps:

  • Communicate what you want across the company. Gap had that sign in at least three places in the store so it is obvious they were aware of it. However, the manager needs to be aware that Gap is looking for motivated, enthusastic, and committed indivdiauls when hiring.
  • Follow through as you go. Once you have hired employees, ensure they stay up to par. A lot of employees start great and then slack off as time goes on and they get more comfortable. The only way to ensure they continue being as good as when they were hired is to constantly remind them about what is good and what is bad.
  • Follow the advice. Read this classic post on Service Untitled. Listen to your HR managers, listen to the consulants you hire, listen to somewhat well informed bloggers. You can’t be good at everything, so it is okay to admit that other people may know how to hire better than you.

Note: I have nothing against Gap at all. In fact, I’m wearing a Gap shirt and shop there quite frequently. However, I wouldn’t exactly label them as a legendary customer service organization. They aren’t bad, but they aren’t great.

And on a somewhat related note about how stupid some people are: there was another store (I guess it could be called a restaurant since it was in the food court) with a sign provided by the mall that said “Employment Opportunities Available.” Below that text, there was another sign – this one handwritten that said Job openings?. I interpreted it as the store not knowing what Employment Opportunities Available meant. As sad as it may be, I think my interpretation is correct.

I sure do wish there were no moronic idiots in customer service.

One Response to “What You Want vs. What You Get”

  1. CustomersAreAlways said:

    Dec 12, 06 at 12:50 am

    Carnivale of Customer Service: The Hiring Edition…

    It’s a late post for Carnivale of Customer Service – but like I always say – Better late than never!  This week we have one submission….Service Untitled talks about what you want vs. what you get when it comes to……