When Customer Service Goes Outside the Lines

outside lilnesI was traveling recently and stopped at the Starbucks inside the airport before catching my plane. As usual the line for that caffeine jolt was quite lengthy (especially for folks traveling before 8am).

As I waited in line for the next available cashier, I overheard the barista shout out to the folks in front of me, “What beverage can I get started for you?” She took their order and got the first name of each customer and got started making their coffees and latte concoctions. The cashiers ahead were busy ringing up customers far ahead in line.

As I inched up in line she did the same for me. So when I got the cashier station, my coffee was already waiting. All that was needed to complete my transaction was a nod from me if I wanted any food items then my total was ready for payment. And most importantly, I was on my way to the gate.

Now this may not sound like a big deal, but in the world of food and beverage, that extra effort in customer service made all the difference in the efficiency of my visit and certainly my satisfaction.

So of course, it got me to thinking. I wonder if that barista was simply doing what she was told and moving the line along (which if so, was great logistics on Starbucks’ part). Or could she have possibly seen an opportunity to make a difference and stepped outside her normal duties of making beverages and took care of the customers?

Interesting thought isn’t it? Either option demonstrates a focus on service many organizations miss. In fact, TSA clearly missed that opportunity just 30 minutes prior as I (and 100 other folks) slowly squeezed through only three open security checkpoints trying to get to our gates.

So which option describes you or your organization? Are you focused on the customer experience to the point you continuously look for ways to improve efficiency or effectiveness of customer interactions. Or do you teach and model for your team to go outside the box and simply take care of the customer when you see the need – regardless of job title?

You know, this is one of the rare instances that it’s okay to say “both”! Your customers will certainly thank you for it.

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