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"Why Choose Between Fun and Content When You Can Have Both"

Dude, get off your %&*$* phone and work!

I’m waiting for my soda at the McDonald’s drive thru. His phone rings.

Employee: “Dude, why you calling me at work? I gotta go.”

He hands me my soda.

Me: “Dude, why you picking up your phone at work?”

Listen, I get it. We’re all on our phones. At home. At work. On the john. In the car.

But this one crosses the line. Arby’s is across the street next time i need a soda.

What public restrooms and customer service have in common

  • Coffee $.99
  • Breakfast sandwiches: $1.50
  • Oil Change $19.95
  • 2 liter soda $1.39
  • We have the best sandwiches in town
  • Use your grocery points here

The above are typical of what you see on signage as you drive by those gas station convenience stores. Most of them use a marketing tactic of…….Buy from us! Spend your money here.

Then there’s the gas station along Rte 6, in I believe Scituate, Rhode Island, that proclaims in big bold signage:

WE HAVE PUBLIC RESTROOMS

Which is what I am usually looking for at that point on my ride home from Cape Cod after my coffee has starting working its magic.

But instead of Buy from me, Buy from me, Buy from me, this business takes the approach of giving people what they want.

I also usually buy a coffee refill; this time without the guilt of feeling I need to buy something.

Are you giving your customers things; or  constantly selling to them?

At least appear interested when people offer suggestions

Please give us your suggestions. Please give us feedback. Please let us know how we can make your experience better, different, or easier. Everyone has come across some form of those words while you were in the role of customer.

So I pull up to the library return box in Southington CT. It was after hours. The books were due the next day and I didn’t want my hands chopped off for being late or have Mean Librarian Lady call to yell at me (bad childhood memory). From inside the typical car you are below the height of the dropbox opening. As I was about to stuff my books inside it was clear that something was on the slanted platform and in the way. It was a DVD.

Yep, the person before me obviously did not push hard enough to get the DVD through the slot. Now you know how that conversation would go when he or she told the library they dropped it in the box on such and such a date when that overdue notice came, they went to use their card again or worse…..Mean Librarian Lady called. I made sure that didn’t happen and pushed the DVD through.

This was the second time this has happened; where I have pulled up and someone’s returns had not made it into the box. So today when I was in the library I decided to share what has now happened twice and made a suggestion. “Maybe you could put a note on the box telling people to be certain their returns went through the slot” I offered the two library workers.

The woman behind the counter made a comment that maybe people should just push harder. The gentlemen made a comment you think people would know better.

I stared at the two clearly-in-need-of-customer-service-training employees and responded again with “You might want to consider putting a note on the box telling people to be certain their returns went through the slot.” It was obvious neither one of them appeared interested. I walked away

Hey, I don’t care if you’re not going to use the ideas of a customer. But when someone gives you an idea, after you’ve opened the door for them to do so (with your signs, missions and posted promise statements), you and your employees owe it to that person to at least appear interested!

Remember, chances are your business is not unique and people have choices. It doesn’t cost you anything to smile and say thank you. Maybe even write it down and throw it in the garbage. Or worse yet, bring it to the attention of someone who might say…..wow, that might be a smart idea.

 

Disclaimer: Not all librarian ladies are mean. Actually most are knowledgeable and helpful. Hmmmm…maybe that is who I should have spoke to in the first place.

Even the penny arcade is no fun any longer

I could not remember the last time I dropped a penny in the barrel in my office. These days I usually just leave the penny in that take-a-penny/leave-a-penny cup many businesses make available. Or the cashier rounds up or down because he or she cannot be bothered with pennies. But honestly, it was probably years since the last penny was dropped through the barrel slot. It was taking up space. So heading out the door to the bank yesterday I grabbed the barrel.

TD Bank has a coin machine – it’s called the Penny Arcade. Yep, if you’re a customer you drop your coins in and all the counting and rolling is done for you. I’ve used the machine one other time in the past.

TD Bank, WTF!!!! The best part of the experience was nowhere to be found…. Where I get to guess how much I think was dumped into your machine. After standing there for what seemed like an eternity, to drop what I thought was like 100,000 pennies into the machine you took away the fun part?

Now I don’t know if they “changed” the machine, it was a new machine, or I did something wrong – remember often times it is user error -but my customer experience just totally became another boring visit to the bank. Although the smiley face sticker on my deposit slip was a nice touch.

 So I’m hoping it was my fault; that I did something wrong. Because in the boring, stale, sterile, professional world of banking it was nice to see a little bit of fun infused into the business somewhere.

Where is the fun infused in your business?

Oh and I overestimated my count by like 93,900 pennies.