3 Quick Questions with Shep Hyken: Holiday Shopping Edition

Shep Hyken
December 04, 2012

Shep Hyken

Customer Service and Experience Expert - New York Times Bestselling Author

3 Quick Questions with Shep Hyken, the author of The Amazement Revolution

Amazement Revolution

BRIAN: Hi, Shep, here's the deal- I email a question to you, you respond, I repeat, for a total of three questions.  Cool?

SHEP: Count me in!

BRIAN: What's the best Thanksgiving/Hanukah/Christmas example of customer service you saw last holiday season?

SHEP:Holiday season and customer service are not synonymous.  For employees there are long lines, long hours, crowded parking lots, frustrated customers.  For customers there are… well pretty much the same.  Maybe the terms are synonymous!

Seriously, the holiday times are busier and sometimes more stressful than other times of the year, but the best companies still deliver. 

The best customer service holiday story happened at an Ace Hardware in Dunedin, FL.  Jeffrey Gawel was the manager and noticed an elderly woman getting ready to buy the Christmas tree.  She found the tree she wanted, but decided against it because it was too big for her to get into to load into the car and take to her apartment.  Jeffrey told her, “No problem.  I’ll be happy to deliver it to you after work and even help you decorate it.  (No charge, of course) He did, and she served him homemade banana bread and Diet Coke.

Next year, the same thing happened again, including the banana bread and the Diet Coke.  This went on for nine years, until she finally passed away. 

Now, THAT’S a customer service story! (And, I’m choked up just thinking about it.)

BRIAN: Wow, great story! I wonder who felt like they had the better end of the deal- Jeffrey, or the woman he helped?

If you're a manager, how do you make the holidays a little bit easier on your employees?  (aside from giving them banana bread and Diet Coke)

SHEP: I think Jeffrey enjoyed the annual experience, but he never did like diet soda.  Just didn’t have the heart to tell her!

Managers need to have empathy for employees over the holidays.  Everyone knows they have to work, perhaps harder and even longer hours.  Of course, managers should staff appropriately, but should also let the employees work out some of their own schedules with certain parameters.  For example, a restaurant may be open on Christmas.  Let employees work out their shifts with each other so they get some of the family time they want.  Also, appropriately celebrate at work.  Everyone, even if they are working, wants to enjoy themselves around the holidays.

BRIAN: Since you're commonly mistaken for Bruce Willis, is Die Hard your favorite 'Christmas movie'?  Or what do you like to watch during the holidays?

SHEP:  Runner up for the category: My Favorite Holiday Movie of All Time…

“It’s a Wonderful Life” starring Jimmy Stewart.  No one is that nice!

And the number one My Favorite Holiday Movie is…

“Die Hard One” starring Bruce Willis, my brother from another mother. Definitely my favorite Christmas movie.  One comment about that one: Yippee Ki Yay…  Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays!!! - SHEP

Shep Hyken (http://premierespeakers.com/shep_hyken) is a speaker and a one of St. Louis' most dominant pick-up hockey players.

Brian Lord (http://premierespeakers.com/staff_directory/brian_lord) is an agent at Premiere and doesn't even know how to skate.

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