Customer service Engagement

A True Story of Another Happy Employee

In my last post, a friend who’s spent most of her career in the nonprofit world shared her positive experience as a seasonal associate at the Village Square (Baltimore MD) Williams-Sonoma store. She’s not the only one surprised and delighted by the Williams-Sonoma retail culture there.

Here are excerpts from a letter that one of her co-workers, also a seasonal (part-time) associate, sent to the chain’s top management.

“For the last 21 years I have served in the Submarine Force and as a Naval Officer in the Cryptology community of the United States Navy. I pride myself on hard work, dedication to the mission, teamwork and integrity.  This December, however, I was shown the true meaning of the qualities above, when I took a Seasonal Job at one of your stores in Baltimore; specifically the store located at Village Square. I thought it might be fun to work in an environment that wasn’t classified, and since I have a passion for cooking I applied for a seasonal position. I wasn’t sure what to expect in the world of retail – renowned for high turnover, mediocre dedication and a demanding public – but I was eager to find out.

My experience was truly eye opening. Your store Manager Claudia and her team of full-time employees are nothing short of OUTSTANDING. I have a staff of over 130 people, and I attempted to evaluate this store from a manager’s perspective as I went about my daily tasks. Over and over and over — I was amazed at the teamwork, dedication and hard, hard, hard work these employees demonstrated. WOW!

This group is truly unique in that they understand and provide customer service – no matter what the circumstance.  Claudia’s attitude is that nothing is too big to handle or too small to pay attention to, and every single employee exemplifies this motto.

I was amazed that I could ask any full-time employee a question in any situation (store packed full of customers, a waiting line five deep) and I was ALWAYS greeted with a “No problem – how can I help?”

These employees ensure that the store is fully stocked, dishes washed, cash counted, floor swept, EVERYTHING in its correct place before they walk out the door every – single -night. I thought that maybe we could cheat a little after the mad rush of customers during the holidays – but it never happened.

Submarines, as you can imagine, are like fine tuned watches. Everything is routine and we can’t afford a mistake because it could mean the death of hundreds of men. I never thought I would work in an environment that had the same structure and system. I have to tell you — Claudia and her team exemplify the same characteristics.

I want to thank you for giving me such a great experience. I truly enjoyed myself – in fact – I looked forward to work and would always call to see if there were extra hours – it was that much fun!”

My reaction (to quote the author of this letter) is also “WOW!”

2 replies on “A True Story of Another Happy Employee”

I am the ‘friend’ referred to in last week’s blog and wish to add this: my appreciation of how EASY it is to provide excellent customer service is reinforced not only by my work at the store — which I am happy to say is continuing and not just ‘seasonal’ — but by recent highly negative experiences I have had as an external customer. Being polite and friendly, and showing that you are genuinely interested in meeting your customers’ needs comes easily when you feel trusted, valued, and appreciated. So, when I experience an appalling lack of service in person or on the phone with a business, I immediately consider that the person I’ve had to deal with is working for a company that treats her/him at least as badly as I have been treated. The ripple effect of poor management is tremendous and powerful; and I always use the opportunity to offer the company my consulting services!

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