Your pleasure? Really?

Imagine this: you have a day off. There’s nothing on your calendar. You have a few dollars in your pocket, so you decide to do something that’s going to bring you great pleasure.

Would you…

A.  Spend time with family and friends?

B.  Go outdoors or somewhere you don’t normally have time to go and just putter around?

C.  Go in to the office, deal with some irate customers and try to solve their issues?

When you look at this list, which one is not like the others? It’s not really our pleasure to resolve customer issues. Yes, we appreciate it when people solve our issues and we know our customers appreciate it, but never use “my pleasure.” Stop using, “my pleasure” when responding to customers.

Here’s why:

  1. It’s not real. It’s not really our idea of pleasure. We would like to go out and spend time with family and friends or go do something fun, so, it’s not real.
  2. It’s plagiarism. The Ritz-Carlton hotel chain is credited with coming up with this idea of “my pleasure.” And it works for them, it’s genuine for them. It’s real for them. They want each of their guests to have the time of their life when staying at their property. So, for them, it’s real, it’s genuine. However, it’s theirs. Other people are using it. It’s becoming almost trite for some companies, so, it doesn’t belong to us.
  3. We may be missing a significant sales opportunity. Instead of saying “my pleasure,” what could you say? How about something like, “what else?” We’ve just resolved the customer’s issues, or, we’ve brought something that the customer wanted, or the customer needed. This is a grand time for upselling.

Your customer service people are more likely to upsell than your salespeople are because customers will take the word of a customer service person over the word of a salesperson.

We assume the salesperson has a quota or has a commission riding on the sale. But when the customer service person makes the suggestion, the customer is more likely to buy. They see more credibility in the purchase. So, instead of saying, “my pleasure,” ask, “what else?” Or, be even more specific. Give the customer a clue.

One of my favorite organizations is Chik-Fil-A. Their founder, their corporate business model, their mission statement, and the way they treat their customers and their franchisees …it’s par excellence. (I also like the chicken sandwich.)

When we go into a Chick-Fil-A, the one issue that I have with them is that they train their employees to use the dreaded “my pleasure.” Now, these are entry-level employees. They really don’t have enough life experience or business experience to be trained in other areas. But instead of using “my pleasure,” what if they said instead, “what else could I do for you?” and then be specific.

Typical encounter: the customer comes up to the counter. The person behind the counter hands them their food. The customer says, “thank you.” The employee has been trained to say, “my pleasure.” What if instead they said something like, “After you’ve enjoyed your meal, if you still have a little room left come have one of our milkshakes. We make some of the best milkshakes in the world.” Or they could say something like, “When you and your party have finished, think about stopping by for an ice cream cone you can take with you on your trip.”

Now, are you doing something to the customer or are you doing something for the customer in that scenario? You’re doing something for the customer. What if they leave and decide, “It sure would’ve been nice to have something sweet” and the driver says, “we need gas.” They pull in to a convenience store and get a packaged dessert. Wouldn’t a Chick-Fil-A dessert have been better?

This is important: mix it up. Don’t just have one response. Have as many responses as you and your people can think of. Have a contest: come up with as many ways to respond in a week and have a prize of some sort. You and I can think of several but think of how many more your team could think of. McDonald’s has come up with six words that have make them millions of dollars: “would you like fries with that?” But they don’t mix it up.

I was early for a meeting (which I typically am to allow for traffic) and had about half an hour to kill so I pulled into McDonald’s, went inside, got a cup of coffee and what did the person behind the counter say? “Would you like fries with that?” (How many times do you have a breakfast that consists of coffee and fries?) But this person typically worked another shift and that’s where they learned to say, “would you like fries with that?” We need as many different ways as possible to respond when the customer says, “thank you.”

The single, most important function of sales is to teach. The single, most important function of management is to teach. The single, most important function of leadership is to teach. So maybe the leadership and management team in your organization could teach your customer service people how to teach their customers why it’s in the customer’s best interest they buy more from you.

Check out some lessons from Chuck