I was in the retail store of a well-known computer company. Working with a store associate I quickly found what I was looking for. When I asked the young man helping me where to pay for my purchase (no check-out lanes in this high tech environment) he asked me if I had the “app” for the company with an account.
I said “yes” and he walked me through a wireless checkout process right where we stood. He also told me that I could save additional time my next time in the store by downloading an additional app that would allow me to choose, scan, and complete my purchase with no sales associate interaction required. I could just leave with my product.
”Isn’t there a sales associate, staff member, or security guard I need to check with as I exit the store?”
“No, not necessary,” he said.
“Well how do you know people won’t just walk out the door without paying?” I asked. And when he answered I was kind of embarrassed that I asked the question in the first question place. His answer was, “We assume positive intentions.”
“WOW!” was all I could say, amazed at their trusting nature.
A Little Reflection While Driving Home
The experience stayed with me. As I left the store I thought about the store’s positive assumptions about their customers versus my own negative assumptions. I certainly wouldn’t leave the store without paying for my merchandise, why would I assume that others would? Most of us have positive intentions—what’s the cost of assuming that your customers don’t?
Our attitudes impact our behaviors. What if we assumed positive intentions on the part of our customers? How would assuming positive intentions impact and/or change how you approach your service delivery?
Ready To Give It a Try?
Take a look at the policies and procedures you currently have in place. What message is it sending to your customers? Are there some service bottlenecks being caused by negative assumptions?
What can you do to remove those bottlenecks and demonstrate to customers that you value them, assume the best from them, and hold them in high regard? What are some new policies that you could put in place with this new found attitude that would let you delight customers?
I know that my experience at the Apple Store made me feel trusted, valued, and highly regarded. That’s a good feeling—and one that I will come back to experience. Isn’t that the feeling you want your customers to have when they interact with you?
About the author:
Ann Phillips is a Senior Consulting Partner with The Ken Blanchard Companies where she specializes in consulting and keynoting on customer loyalty, employee engagement, leadership, organizational change, and team building.