A few weeks ago, I mailed a wedding present to some friends. Well, actually my husband mailed the package as I was traveling. The package was sent Priority Mail and was scheduled to arrive on Thursday – two days before the happy couple’s wedding day.
On Friday, I checked with my friends, and yes, you guessed it, the package hadn’t been delivered. When I asked my husband for the receipt with the tracking number, he had to admit that he had misplaced it. “No problem”, I thought to myself, “I’ll just go over to the satellite post office and ask them to reprint the receipt for me.” When I got to the satellite post office, located in a local pharmacy, the clerk told me that it was impossible to reprint receipts for postal items. The manager confirmed it, “We can’t reprint any USPS receipts. The system doesn’t let us. We can’t do anything to help you.” She did, however, give me the number to call the US Postal Service to have the package tracked directly.
After navigating my way through the tricky USPS phone tree – unless you have a tracking number for the package you can’t talk with a representative – the agent confirmed what the recording stated: “Unless you have your tracking number, printed on your receipt, we can’t help you. We don’t keep records of who sent the package or destinations. We can’t do anything if your package doesn’t get delivered and you don’t have your receipt with the tracking number.”
Now let me tell you, what customers DO NOT want to hear is “I can’t”. Whether you are shipping packages, processing financial transactions, or repairing cars, your customers expect you to be able to fulfill their wants and needs. That is why they do business with your company.
Because I don’t believe in “I can’t”, I pressed the USPS representative a little further and she opened a ticket to look into the disappearance of my package. “Someone from the post office will contact you within 48 hours, after they’ve worked with the satellite post office to find out where your package is.”
I called the satellite post office to let them know that someone from USPS would be working with them to find my package, as they were the ones who had originally accepted it. The manager of the satellite post office didn’t seem very happy as she said that she had done all that she could.
A few minutes later, however, I got a call back from the manager at the satellite post office. Excitedly she told me that she had found a way to create a report in the system that showed all the tracking numbers and the shipping dates, times and charges. If my husband could remember what day and time he came in, and the charge for the package, she could find the tracking number from the report. My husband gave her the information, and my package was found. It was delivered the next day, just in time for the wedding.
When push came to shove, with a little extra effort and some creativity thinking and doing, of course it was possible to find a way to find my package. There is always a way. All we need to do is change our thinking from “I can’t” to “I can”. Henry Ford said, “If you think you can’t or you think you can, you’re right.” Once we think we can, we will find a way!
As I stated earlier, your customers don’t want to hear “I can’t”. They want to hear how your business can help them, no matter what the request. There’s always a way that we can, we just need to create a culture and develop our people so that their answer to customers isn’t “I can’t”, but “sure, let me find out how we can do that for you.”
Does your company have an “I can” culture? If not, what are you doing to change it?