Earlier this summer my son and I visited Elliot Lake, a small town in Northern Ontario; and, as we were camping, it was only natural that we would find ourselves in the local Canadian Tire store. Even though we knew it was a long shot, we were looking for a replacement battery for my electric bike.
It was about 5:00 pm and the customer service people were about to change shifts. “Oh-oh” I thought. “We’ve come at the wrong time. We’ll be stuck here for a while.”
The exchange went something like this:
With a welcoming smile, Cheryl, the person ending her shift, took our query and began a computer search. Anne, who was just starting, overheard the conversation and got into problem-solving mode right away. She searched another computer. Neither had any success; but, they began to think outside the (box) store and began brainstorming.
“What about what’s-his-name who sells e-bikes?”
“No, I think he sold the business to someone else…”
“Maybe he would have a contact he could call.”
“Good idea, but what’s his name?”
Turning to a customer who was going through the checkout she asked, “Who’s the guy who used to have that store beside Verne’s Car Wash?”
“I don’t remember but Verne would certainly know.”
Now Cheryl was pulling out a local phone book and asking, “What’s Verne’s last name?”
“Johnstone” the customer replied.
…And so it continues for a good ten minutes. Cheryl calls Verne. Verne supplies Cheryl with the name of the guy and as she repeats it aloud, Anne is already leafing through the phone book. Anne calls what’s-his-name (Brian) and asks for the name of the new owner. Brian provides the name and phone number. Anne dials the number and hands me the phone. Both Cheryl and Anne wait to hear the results.
The results didn’t matter as much as the fact there was a sincere desire to help the customer. I was amazed! These were people who genuinely loved their job and took pride in serving the customer. Compare that with the snarky response you often get when dealing with ‘customer service’!
I called the Elliot Lake store today and spoke to the manager, I asked, “Can you tell me about your employee relationships?”
“We love our employees” she said. “We’re a small store and we treat them all with love and respect. We have a lot of fun together and that includes the owner.”
Without prompting, she actually said, “We love our employees and our employees love their customers.”
That says it all.