Are You Sacrificing Friendly for Fast?


A Visit to a Freaky Fast Franchise by Business Humorist, Karyn Ruth White

Let me begin by emphatically stating that I am a HUGE fan of Jimmy Johns Sub Franchise…I love them so much it’s FREAKY!!! I think their product is superior, their service is FREAKY FAST and their quality is consistent.  I have witnessed Jimmy Johns’ delivery drivers running…that’s right…running in and out of their delivery cars, visibly eager to bring their Freaky Fast goodness to the next hungry customer.  Witnessing and experiencing this dedication to excellence, brings me to the conclusion, that the Jimmy Johns’ leadership team would welcome feedback from their customers on how to be EVEN BETTER…so here’s mine;

I recently visited a Jimmy Johns store in my neighborhood near Denver, Colorado.  I am a fairly regular customer at this particular location and I have always had a great experience. I’m the customer who enters the door and immediately starts jammin’ to the music and dancing up to the counter…which makes it even more ironic that the manager behind the counter on this particular day…greeted me with a blank stare, no smile and no discernable desire to make any type of human connection.

In a rapid, robotic tone she recited: “Welcome to Jimmy Johns, How can I help you?” I was tempted to say: “OK, let’s try that again…This time with feeling!”

I said: “Wow, you’re very speedy aren’t you?” She said: “Yeah, people tell me all the time that I talk too fast.” “Yeah…Freaky Fast!”

After leaving the store, I continued to ruminate about the robotic manager and it occurred to me that, in their dedication to being FREAKY FAST, at least one member of the Jimmy Johns’ family had crossed over to FREAKY CURT. 

In our mad attempt to be “meet the deadline,” whether in a sub shop or within a business team, if left unchecked, we run the risk of coming off as curt, robotic and unfeeling in our human contact.  I believe that the human niceties, and the “not so small” courtesies like a smile, taking a moment to listen, and showing a little patience even when we’re busy…ALWAYS come first. Cooperation and efficiency flow from there.

Moral of the Story:

We don’t have to sacrifice the human niceties for efficiency. There is a very fine line between FAST and CURT, and make no mistake…your customers can feel the freaky difference.

Karyn Ruth White is an award-winning humorist, Keynote Speaker and Trainer who enjoys helping business thrive and have fun doing it! She provides engaging laugh and learn trainings to help service professionals not only give great service… but WANT to give great service. She is the owner of Laugh and Learn Productions, LLC, an enterprise helping people to stress less and work more joyfully. Visit her at, on LinkedIn or on Twitter @karynruth.

How to Nip Customer Satisfaction in the Bud

Customer Retention, Customer Service, Customer SatisfactionEvery week I buy myself fresh roses.  I love having fresh flowers surrounding me throughout the week.  I put them in my bathroom, my bedroom, and my office.  Each week I splurge and spend $8.00 dollars on a dozen roses at my grocery store’s floral department.  They usually last 5 or 6 days. Recently I bought a dozen roses that died the next day.  I wasn’t happy about that. 

I was reminded of the Seinfeld line; “Fruit’s a gamble, I know that going in.” Well, flowers are a gamble, I know that going in, but I expect my gamble to yield flowers that will last longer than 24 hours.

The next week I was in my grocery store and there were two employees standing behind the counter at the floral department.  I saw a $10.00 dozen of roses that I liked and thought… “Hey, maybe they’ll give me these for $8 bucks as a gesture of service if I explain my disappointment over my recent one day floral purchase. Let’s see what happens.”

Here’s how the conversation went:

ME: “Excuse me, I purchase groceries and flowers here every week and have been for over 10 years now, and usually the flowers last at least 5-6 days, last week I purchased roses that died the next day. I was wondering if you would be willing to sell me this $10 bunch for $8 as a gesture of goodwill.”

THEM: “Uh, do you have the dead flowers with you?”

ME: “No, I threw them away.”

THEM: They took a moment to look at each other and then said in unison; “Uh, well, we really need to see the dead flowers before we can give you any discount.”

ME: “Well, it never occurred to me to drag a bunch of dead roses here as evidence.”

THEM: “Uh, well we really need to see the dead flowers before we can give you any discount.”

ME: “I am standing here giving you the opportunity to make a loyal customer happy for the price of 2 bucks. Are you telling me you won’t do that?”

Long Pause

THEM: “Uh, well we really need to see the dead flowers…but maybe…

ME: “Nevermind, the moment has passed.”

I walked away really pissed.  I still bought my roses, but I was miffed.

For two lousy dollars, “my grocery store” had just become “the grocery store.”

I thought to myself…how small-minded and short-sighted of them.  What type of customer service training are these people getting, any?

Then I wondered if they had this “We-don’t-care” attitude because it was a grocery store and they figured they “had” me and that I “had” to shop there because I have to eat.  Then I started thinking, yes I do need to eat, but there are a lot of other choices as to where I can buy my food. Choices I hadn’t really given a lot of thought until “my” grocery store pissed me off.

Morals of the Story:

#1) The cost to keep a happy customer is MUCH less than the cost to get a new one.

#2) Don’t ever assume that you’ve “got” your customer.  We always have choices as to where to place our business.  (Just ask the phone and cable companies.)

#3) Train, teach and encourage your employees to see the big picture and allow them to make choices that will keep the customer happy and coming back.

Sometimes all of this is possible for the princely sum of 2 bucks.