Customer Service: A Warm Greeting with a Cold Sandwich.

14 Oct

A hollow gesture is hard to digest.

I like a good sandwich, so it is no wonder I frequent Subway Restaurants for lunch quite often.  I noticed a little over a year ago they began to greet me each time I entered the eatery with a warm bellowing “Hello, welcome to Subway”.

Nice.  Subway must be providing customer service training.  I like that.

Not only will I be getting my twelve-inch spicy Italian on a parmesan oregano roll, but the chef will acknowledge me as I walk in…even if he or she is only eighteen years old and only does sandwiches.

Customers like to feel appreciated.

The greetings bestowed on me during my first few visits were welcoming but they soon turn into what I can only describe as a mechanical response.

When the bell rang Pablo’s dog drooled. When the Subway front door opened, a Subway employee would bark out a greeting they were told to say; often times not smiling nor even looking at me.

Customers like to feel appreciated, but it might be better saying nothing at all then to say something one does not mean.  (Has a cashier ever asked you if you found everything you needed while you were paying for your groceries and did nothing but continue to ring you up after you said you couldn’t find the Tabasco sauce)?

Actors need directors. Employees need supervisors.

A skilled director enhances an actor’s role and like actors, employees need to know more than just what to say or do. They need to know why they are doing it; especially younger inexperienced workers.

When they know the “why”  they will be more inclined to “do”.

In Subway’s case, employees quickly lost the incentive to  maintaining the new directive and for many, are only now going through the motions. They need to understand that customers have choices on were to eat and making patrons feel welcome and appreciated may help them decide to come back.

An easy way to motivate employees to do their best is to explain why things need to be done when showing them what needs to be done.  They will do a better job and feel better about what they are doing.

Then maybe, I can get a smile when I ask for extra cheese on my Philly.



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9 Responses to “Customer Service: A Warm Greeting with a Cold Sandwich.”

  1. Ron Martin October 14, 2011 at 6:04 am #

    I to am a Subway fan. I occasionally will encounter a less friendly employee, but across the board they do great. Several Hawaii Subway franchises use Retail Selling Made Easy as a tool, so I am proud to hear good things said about them.
    There is one structural problem I have however. The counter frame blocks my view of the employee’s mouth, or in some cases the employee entirely, making it difficult to communicate. Maybe I am just the exact wrong height. I’m sure it’s a “sneeze protector” thing, which I appreciate, but if it were just a little higher I could see them through the glass.

    • truemarketingadventures October 14, 2011 at 5:59 pm #

      Thanks Ron. Glad to hear some of the Subway francise owners recognize that good business for them is more than just making good sandwiches and are using some of your sales training tools.

  2. Alison Gilbert, Digital Age Storyteller October 14, 2011 at 8:38 am #

    “A skilled director enhances an actor’s role and like actors, employees need to know more than just what to say or do. They need to know why they are doing it; especially younger inexperienced workers.”

    What a great piece of advice to a team leader such as myself. I have a new team member and instinctively explained all about QR codes before asking him to apply stickers of them to the back of 500 pieces of a promotional promotional. Thanks!

    • truemarketingadventures October 14, 2011 at 6:17 pm #

      Hi Alison,
      It is so much easier to tell someone what to do without having to explain why. That’s why most managers don’t take the time to do it. We are all busy but at the end of the day we need to ask ourselves…(excuse me, I gotta run. I got something else I’m doing) 🙂

  3. Dave Amsel October 14, 2011 at 3:08 pm #

    This article will have a positive result on the way I will greet customers in my store. Wonderful advice for all retailers.

    • truemarketingadventures October 14, 2011 at 6:33 pm #

      Thanks Dave. As a retailer, the next trick is to keep them in the store as long as possible; food for thought for another post.

  4. Larry Safady October 19, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    I’m still ok with my ATM machine telling me to “Please take the cash”.
    But seriously, Starbucks gets this. May very well be one of the reasons they have done so well.

    • truemarketingadventures October 19, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

      One of the reasons Starbucks employees are always smiling is because they are happy! Starbucks treats their employees well; providing part-time employees medical, dental, life and disability insurance. Oh…and a free pound of coffee per week.

      • Ron Martin October 19, 2011 at 5:07 pm #

        Some Starbucks baristas even give me free coffee. Who’s watching?

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