“Hi, my name is Don Page and this is my first day at work here.”
Clearly annoyed, the receptionist looks up, “They did it again. No one told me a new hire was starting today!” With a heavy sigh she says, “Let me get the service manager.” Five minutes later, “The service manager isn’t in. Go down the hall to the third door on your right and someone will be with you.”
Three hours later and Don still hasn’t completed the company paperwork - because no one can find all the forms. The receptionist still can’t get a hold of the service manager, and no one is sure what Don is supposed to do once the paperwork is complete.
When good coworkers are so hard to find, is this really the right way to treat a new hire?
That was a rough start for Don. Now, let’s take a look at what happens to Mike on his first day at Customer’s First Heating, Air and Plumbing. Mike is excited. In fact, he is so excited, he can’t wait to tell his buddy Pete. Pete works for Customer’s First main competition Fire and Ice Air Conditioning, where Don used to work.
Later in the evening, Mike and Pete settle in to a couple of burgers and beers at Suds.
“You didn’t have to ride with a Stinky Stan today did you, Mike?” They both laughed remembering their first day at Fire and Ice. It smelled like something died in Stan’s van three summers ago.
Mike put his mug down and said, “Lemme break this down from the start, buddy.”
“Customer’s First sent me all the paperwork in advance, and I completed and signed it electronically. My contact with the company was Jim, the service manager. After checking in with the receptionist, he met me in the lobby. They had a “Welcome to Customer’s First, Mike” sign across their flat screen TV.
Jim welcomes me, shakes my hand, and gives me a small gift wrapped package. We go into a conference room and he tells me to open the box. It’s a top of the line Leatherman with my name on it.
“I was fitted for a suit today, Pete. I have a brand new custom-inscribed Leatherman. Then, I did about ten minutes of paperwork and the service manager bought me lunch.
After lunch, Jim sets up a video for me to watch. It’s a five-minute clip personally welcoming me and with the other employees talking about the company.
Then, the company owner, Bob, comes in and tells me about the company’s history and his main focus. Parts of the story had come up in my interview process, but sitting there listening to Bob was a different experience. It made it real.”
He said to me, “The reason I come to work every day, Mike, is to make Customer’s First a better vehicle to improve our coworker’s lives. The only way to do it at a world class level is if we’re profiting. And the only way to profit is to provide Disney World-like customer service.”
“So what does the suit have to do with Customer’s First, Mike?”
“Well, Bob has a buddy who owns Perfect Fit Custom Suits. Bob says Perfect Fit has the highest level of customer service he’s ever seen. He wanted me to go through the experience of getting a suit fitted and to have a nice suit as a gift for coming to work there.”
“I told Bob I haven’t worn a suit in three years. He told me not to worry. There will come a time when I need one and he didn’t want me to look like a used car salesman when I needed it. He said it was important for me to take in the experience at Perfect Fit because it’s the same level of customer service Bob wants at Customer’s First. So, Pete, I went to Perfect Fit and I honestly felt like I was a king. It was crazy!”
Mike finishes his burger and says, “I have to get going Pete. Suzy gets off at nine tonight and, oh yeah man, I forgot to tell you. Customer’s First sent Suzy two dozen red roses along with two white roses yesterday! The card with the roses said that hiring me affects my entire family and they wanted to reassure Suzy that we were both making the right choice.
“Why did they send the two white roses, Mike?”
“Bob said they wanted to emphasize our family. And because we have two kids, a white rose for each child is sent.”
I created this fictional tale to reflect upon the power of a defining moment. We visited defining moments in the December 2017 Comanche Marketing article, titled The Power of Moments. A defining moment is a meaningful experience that stands out in our memory.
When we have a memorable experience, two key elements have a tendency to stick out. 1) Endings / beginnings (authors refer to these as transitions); and 2) the best or worst moments, known as peak.
Bob is passionate about improving his coworker’s lives. It’s his business WHY. He wants his new coworkers to understand it right out of the gate. He creates this whole over-the-top experience because he also wants them to feel it.
Specifically, the owner wants a new hire to feel:
- Personally welcome
- Welcome from his team
- World class customer service
- The kind of customer service that he expects
- How much he cares
The owner wants a new hire to know:
- He values the choice that the new coworker and his family made
- Customer’s First is unlike any other HVAC or Plumbing company
- That he truly values family
- His business WHY
- How important coworkers are to him
Design and create an unforgettable first day experience for your new hires. Set the tone for your business WHY and how much you value your coworkers and their family.
“Welcome to Customer’s First Heating, Air and Plumbing. Man, we’re glad you decided to work here!”
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