Let me begin this post with a disclaimer: I did not have a successful Black Friday. I ventured out at 4 AM to drive an hour to a store in order to purchase one item that was not available in my state. So, Black Friday was more like Bleak Friday to me. However, I tried to pay attention during my travails, and here is something I noticed.
I stood outside Office Max in Knoxville for an hour and a half with a handful of people waiting to see what wonderful electronic deals they had. The deal I was looking for wasn’t in their sale paper, but I had seen it online. That was my mistake. Anyway, we stood there in the windy cold and chatted while we watched the employees readying the store for our grand entrance.
About 30 minutes before the store opened, the manager came out and informed us that she and a couple of other employees would be coming through the crowd handing out pull tickets for whatever sale items they came to purchase. She thought that would be fair and stop the crowd from pushing and shoving to be first in line. She was right.
Three employees started mingling through the crowd making small talk, asking what they wanted, and giving out bright red pull tickets. People were smiling and chatting back. Suddenly, the atmosphere changed. Everyone calmed down. We enjoyed the wait.
Later, after I had exhausted several other stops to no avail, I wandered through the West Town Mall for a bit. As I entered Dillard’s through the ladies’ fragrance section, one of the associates yelled loudly to the others, “You get double sales credit on all __________ fragrances today, so sell, sell, sell!” Yes, she yelled that in front of all the customers walking through her section. I could not get out of Dillard’s fast enough.
Two customer service experiences. The Office Max / Dillard’s experience spoke to me about my classroom. You wouldn’t have expected anything different would you?
I can hear some teachers yelling out in their heads, “We’ve got these SPIs to get through today so teach, teach, teach!” I can almost feel the cringe that comes across the minds of kids who need something different than that. How would it transform my teaching to offer individual pull tickets for kids each day?
I wondered how much I could cater to each student’s individual needs. Not desires. Not likes or dislikes. Needs. What pull tickets could I put in their expectant hands each day that ensure they would get that for which they came? Maybe they don’t even know they need it. Some need me teach. Some just need me to smile, or make small talk, or just pay attention.
What is the customer service experience in your classroom? Have you settled for teaching? Or are you meeting the needs of kids?