"I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen" --- Ernest Hemmingway
George Lindsey, the actor who played the character Goober Pyle on the Andy Griffith Show, died at the age of 83. His character took over the position of Mayberry's gas station attendant after Gomer Pyle joined the Marines. Lindsey went on to play the same character on the hit show Hee Haw, and in stand-up comedy shows for many years. While loved for his innocence and simplicity, leaders can learn a great deal about good customer service from how Goober ran his station.
Four Goober traits we can adopt today:
1.) First, Goober never formed an opinion about a person until he really had a chance to know him or her. He always listened, I mean really listened, to what the customer had to say before responding. Of course Goober would listen with his mouth open in child-like anticipation, but he still listened. When we do the same (minus the open mouth), we not only hear what the customers want, need, are complaining about, etc., but we see how they say it. We can witness in their body language more of what they are trying to communicate. Goober could sense what the customer was needing and addressed those needs.
2.) Next, Goober was passionate about fixing the problem. He worked relentlessly trying to get the car running, fix the flat, and provide alternative transportation, and anything and everything else that would help to make the customer happy. Goober knew his job and not only wanted to provide satisfaction to his customers, but he would make sure that if he found another problem not addressed by the customer, he would fix that too. He always knew that if the customer was happy, then he and the town of Mayberry were happy.
3.) Goober knew that he knew when a project was right. His standards were often above the customer's and he stubbornly stood his ground when it came to making a repair or pumping gas. Goober's confidence in his abilities spilled over to the service he provided for his customers. He doggedly worked until the vehicle purred like a kitten even if the customer didn't bring the vehicle in for that kind of treatment. Goober's pride in his workmanship didn't allow for him to cut corners or skip over quality for the sake of quantity. This led him to develop a reputation for being perfectionist and in more than one episode caused Andy Griffith to recommend Goober to a customer as the greatest mechanic around.
4.) Goober smiled. That’s it. Goober smiled from the inside out. Whether Sheriff Taylor was angry at him for building a car in the courthouse or Barney gave him grief about not catching a thief, he smiled. Your smile and your team member’s smile send a loud and clear message to your customers. It says, “I can’t wait to serve you! I want to serve you! I want you to be happy!” People love to see others smiling. It makes their day just a wee bit brighter. It also helps the customer service relationship to develop quicker and with better results.
Be like Goober and train your team members to do the same. You will notice a difference in customer satisfaction.