Service: Do You Want Fries With That?
All I wanted was something to drink, nothing more. It was a warm summer afternoon, and I’d been walking what seemed like a million miles –that might be a slight bit of hyperbole –to visit the sights of a well-known city here in this great country of ours. As my thirst was getting the better of me, I happened upon a nationally known fast-food restaurant that was literally across the street from a huge tourist attraction –not only was the location a prime one, there were no other fast-food restaurants nearby so competition was next to nothing.
When I stopped in, it was close to lunch time, so the restaurant was understandably busy with a mix of locals and tourists –the line was one of the longest I’d ever seen for this particular “brand”. As I was waiting to place my order, I noticed that there were four or five registers mounted at the counter, but the manager only had two of the registers running. That seemed odd.
The person in front of me in line had just stepped up to the register and proceeded to place her order –I could almost feel that drink touching my lips and being poured down my gullet to satisfy my building thirst. Bingo, the person in front of me finished her order and stepped to the left to await her number being called, so I approached the worker who had been placed in my path to take my order –I’m at the gates of thirst Shangri-La. Without even looking at me, the worker reached into her pocket, extracted her cell phone, looked at it for just a moment, and then tapped a couple of keys on the register before walking away from the counter –she never once looked up at me. What?!!! Eventually, I was funneled over to the remaining open register to place my order and shuffled over to the left to await my number being called –I ordered ONE drink, and it took ten minutes to get it, because they only filled the orders in sequence rather than by availability.
In the real estate and mortgage world, there’s a TON of competition –you can’t swing a cat around without hitting another agent, and everybody has a brother or an aunt who has a mortgage license. However, once an individual has waded through the masses and chosen you and me to help her purchase a home, the competition is relatively non-existent. At this point, it’s our responsibility to provide a service –and do it efficiently and effectively.
If we’re good at what we do, we’re busy, right? That’s not a bad thing. Nevertheless, what do we do to assure that our clients don’t feel like they’ve been shunted into a long line with only one or two registers open? Or, are we so full of ourselves and our own awesomeness that we feel our clients should be counting their lucky stars to have us as their agent and advocate? The manager at the fast-food restaurant, in my estimation, could have been much more successful if he or she set up a system that showed the clients that they were the priority –more open registers, workers who stayed at their post, orders filled more efficiently. Regardless of our given titles, we’re all managers of our own “nationally known fast-food restaurant” in a prime location with relatively no surrounding competition –do we just settle for what comes through the door and stays to eat, or do we focus on each individual client’s needs and work to assure we aren’t keeping anyone waiting? And to think, all this from my need for a simple drink!