Turn The 'Problem' Into An Opportunity
Customer service expert John DiJulius writes regularly in Multi-Unit Franchisee magazine. He's an authority on what he calls, "world-class customer experience," and numerous big companies have turned to him for advice on raising the bar and setting the standard that exceeds customer expectations.
Here's an excerpt from a column he wrote:
While It Is Not Your Fault, It Is Your Problem
I took my son Johnni to Disney World when he was six years old. We both stood in line for the Twilight Zone, one of the Disney-MGM Studios rides, for more than 50 minutes. When we finally got to the front of the line, the staff member stopped us because Johnni was too small for the ride. He showed me the measuring stick, and we saw he was right. For my son's safety, he had to be at least 40 inches high. My son was almost 2 inches too short. The staff member apologized and said we must have missed the signs along the line. We really couldn't argue, but after waiting in line for almost an hour for a ride he really wanted to go on, Johnni was about to cry.
The Disney employee bent down to my teary-eyed son, asked his name, and said, "I am going to give you a certificate with your name on it. This certificate says the next time you come to Disney, you will probably be tall enough to get on Twilight Zone and you won't have to wait in line. All you have to do is walk right up to the front of the line, show this certificate, and you'll go on the ride without waiting."
My son's expression turned into a smile. He felt like a Disney VIP. The staffer seemed to be about twenty years old, which amazed me. With the service aptitude, I had at twenty, I would most likely have said, "Dad, get your whiny kid out of my face. It isn't my fault he isn't tall enough. It isn't my fault you somehow missed the five signs saying how tall he needs to be. This happens to me several times an hour, and I'm sick of it. Why do I need to fix this?" However, what Disney gets that most companies don't is while it isn't their fault, it is their problem. Instead of going home and remembering the long lines, how hot it was, how much money we spent, and how we couldn't get on one of the rides, we had this certificate hanging on our refrigerator door for the next two years. Every day Johnni would say, "Can we go back to Disney today?" I would measure him and say, "Not yet."
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