When Empathy Meets Empathy
John looked up and saw the queue to the service desk was getting longer. He was waiting for the EFTPOS machine to process a payment. So he asked the next person in line, “Can I help you?”
The customer was looking for some charcoal. John’s eyes lit up.
“I can help you with that. I’ll just be a minute.”
At the same time John looked out to the shop floor as a couple were starting to argue. He could sense that the waiting time was causing some of this angst. “Our staff will be with you in a minute.”
“So how are you going to use the charcoal?” John asked the customer.
“I am cooking some scotch fillet steak for the family. They love the smokey flavour of charcoal.” John’s eyes lit up again. He loves all things to do with BBQ cooking.
“Come out the back with me and I’ll show you what we’ve got”. The customer followed John into the storage space at the back of the store. He was in the inner sanctum. He felt special.
The customer was looking for a particular kind of charcoal. One that he had been cooking with for the last 4 years. One that he loved using. But it wasn’t available anymore. The customer felt anxious. John could sense this.
He explained each type of charcoal available in the store. He took his time. He shared a personal example of when he had used each one. By the end of the conversation, John and the customer had connected. Through their passion for BBQ cooking. John recommended a type of charcoal to the customer. One that the customer had not used before.
“I’ll give it a go” he said.
As they got back to the counter, John started to share another story with the customer.
“I cooked 200 scotch fillet steaks at a caravan expo yesterday. They were so good. I even pinched a couple and put them in the freezer here. It was at this point that the customer recalled hearing about a caravan expo on the radio yesterday. And John’s voice sounded familiar.
“Where you on the radio yesterday?” The customer asked John.
“Yes I was.” John’s eyes lit up again. He explained how the 200 steaks he cooked were garnished and transformed into 200 delicious steak sandwiches. The customer could picture these juicy sandwiches. They sounded delicious. His facial expressions gave John even more energy to describe the delicacy that was his steak sandwich.
“Wait a minute, I’ll give you something extra” John told the customer.
He returned with a cup of the home made chilli mayonnaise that was used to garnish the sandwiches. “Put some of this on your steaks once they are done.”
The sauce (and the charcoal) were a hit. How do I know?
I was the lucky customer.
Thank you John!
Image by Engin_Akyurt