Yesterday morning my husband and I woke up to a text from our daughter Emma. Emma is a sophomore in college a small liberal arts school in central Pennsylvania called Elizabthethtown College. She texted us this photo of gluten free donut holes. She said she urgently needed us to go to Trader Joe’s right away to get them for her. She was concerned that they would sell out immediately. Even though Emma has a car, there is no Trader Joes near her school so she was very much hoping we could help her out with this.
Harlan had to travel for work yesterday, so tasked with our highly sensitive and urgent message, as soon as the store opened I went to Trader Joe’s, armed with my iPhone so that if need be I had the photo. First, I did two laps myself, looking in the logical places I thought they would be. No dice, the donut holes were no where to be found.
The Rescue Team
Not wanting to disappoint me super sweet kid, both because she is super sweet and because I am totally Type A and could not leave without the donut holes, I sought assistance. The first guy was working on oranges. He went to where he thought they’d be. They were not there. He pulled in another gal who then pulled in a third woman from the bakery who then pulled in a fourth woman, a manager. So yes, I had FOUR people helping me look for the donut holes. We worked hard and were thorough. Two of them were positive they had been in the store.
Ultimately, the manager took to the computer. She discovered that the highly coveted donut holes needed to be special ordered. They placed an order and told me to call tomorrow morning and that they would set some aside for us. I felt so valued and was so appreciative of the help. Then, as if that was not enough, they let me take a lollipop even though I had not located the stuffed turtle hidden somewhere in the store. I’m not kidding.
Customer Service Takeaways
If Trader Joe’s was being ranked as a business or a super marked or for what kind of human beings they were, basically on every single lever, they deserve an A plus plus. As voice actors, we can all learn a lot from their behavior and over all mentality so let’s take a moment to dissect what happened at Trader Joes:
- They were a shining example of team work. One person did not need to steal the show. They worked together to accomplish a common goal. In voice over some of us have the opportunity to work as a team. Whether we are demo producers and have partners, or work on a multi-talent cast, or are at a conference and are on a panel with industry friends, sometimes we are fortunate enough to work with others. This is our moment to take a note and lift everyone up. It goes back to the old falcon saying, “the rising tide lifts all the ships in the harbor.” This has always been my experience in VO, and it was for sure my experience at Trader Joe’s. I am quite sure this is why the store is packed as soon as the doors open on a Monday morning, and if you want your voice over business to be booming, this is a great lesson to learn!
- In this incidence, the price tag didn’t matter. I did not go in saying I needed 100 boxes of donut holes. I was not some prized Trader Joe’s client. Yet each member of the team treated me like I was the most important sale of the day. I will confess that this is an area where even I need to do some re-thinking. I do not treat all of my clients the same. I certainly will treat a national spot differently than a $200 one-off gig. Perhaps this needs to be re-thought. It made me feel really good to be helped and values, period.
- At Trader Joe’s the employees bent over backwards to help. I do always try to do this. Whether I have a voice over client, a demo client, or a coaching client, I want their experience working with me to leave them feeling exceedingly happy. In a business like VO where clients have an abundance of choice on all fronts, I am extremely appreciative of their trust in me and in return I ben over backwards to work as hard as I can to do a good job.
- At Trader Joe’s the entire experience, from beginning to end, with the lolly pop, was extra. I try to do this! I am always reachable. I have helped get students on rosters of clients and agents. I have redone their resumes. I audit their auditions. But being extra is typically not something that is asked of you, it’s just something you bring. So my friends, bring it!!
- Most importantly, my recent shopping experience left me, the, client feeling valued. When it comes time to go back… where will I go? That’s right. And that is how we want each and every one of our voice over clients to feel.
We want to do our very best in voice over always. Well often times being and doing our best has nothing to do with our sound and our audio. A lot of the time it has to do with who we are, how we treat others, and the services we provide that go beyond our voice.
Often the voice over is the last piece of the puzzle. Video producers and others who are casting may come to you very close to the deadline and need help to make their project incredible. We have an opportunity to take their time of stress, take them by the hand, and turn it into something wonderful. As someone who also coaches and does demos, it’s the same thing. I can use this as a defining moment in someone career to help make it memorable. My experience in Trader Joe’s can only be described as excellent. I only want to leave my clients feeling this way.