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Superhero Sunday: Gimmick or Not, Customer Satisfaction Soared

How one AT&T store made the weekend shift a little more fun and boosted customer satisfaction.

Let’s be honest, many people don’t like working on weekends, and that can impact the quality of customer service they deliver. But one AT&T leader found a way to make working on Sundays fun.

AT&T Northern California Vice President and General Manager Terry Stenzel believes store productivity and profitability are directly tied to employee engagement. So he challenged his store managers to increase productivity on Sundays--he encouraged them to arrive dressed as their favorite superhero--Wonder Woman, Thor, Ironman.

A small gimmick had a big impact.

Mark Gregory, manager of the AT&T store in Hanford, California, said this about Super Hero Sunday:

"Our customers were surprised and had big smiles on their faces as soon as they walked in. We greeted them with 'Welcome to AT&T, how can we make your day super?' After their visit, we asked our customers, "Was your visit today super?" or "Did we save the day for you today?"

Some customers immediately understood and loved the theme. Even kids got it. Some couldn’t stop smiling. "Those who came in already wearing superhero t-shirts felt as though they were a part of our team. We even had a customer return with cookies because he was so happy with the service he received."

Now, understand one thing: For Terry and his managers, this wasn’t just about dressing up and being a little silly--it was about delivering super customer service, and about thinking of themselves as heroes and problem-solvers for their clients. Most employees do want to help solve customer issues--and Terry's idea simply made the problem-solving even more fun.

The payoff was more happiness and more money.

Was there a payoff for the company? A big one, apparently. "Our customers' Willingness to Recommend (WTR) score for that Sunday was a whopping 10 percent higher than it was on a typical Sunday," Terry said.

What a terrific way to make a workplace culture more fun on a day when some of your people would probably rather be out on the lake or watching the game.

But before you try this at your place of work: Know that not everyone looks good in tights. Please use caution in your costume selection.

Last updated: Sep 18, 2013


Chester Elton and Adrian Gostick are the founders of The Culture Works, a global training and consulting company focused on creating great places to work. They are also the New York Times best-selling authors of All In, The Carrot Principle, and What Motivates Me.

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