Telephone customers – like all of us – have three key needs. This video focuses on one of them: to feel welcome.
I have learned that if one is sleeping for a long time on a flight, one’s meal may be brought to one and then taken away if not eaten. This has the affect of making one very cranky when one is looking forward to a meal.
Now one – I have a plan.
Prior to my post take-off nap, I shall take the white bag in the front seat pocket and write a note to put over my meal…
“I plan to eat this after my nap, please leave it here.”
I feel pretty clever about this.
I woke and there was my meal. As I lifted my note, I noticed something terribly wrong. The dish was there, but the meal, the hot part, was gone. I asked my seat mate who must have felt I had an accusing tone about it. “I was sleeping too,” she told me. And so I accepted my fate – no hot breakfast for me. Yet I was curious.
I found Chris, the lead flight attendant. Yes, he saw my note. Yes, he took my meal. “It would have been scary to eat a meal so cold,” he explained.
“True,” I agreed with a slight whine, “but it was fooood.”
Once he was done teasing me, he explained that he took my hot meal so he could keep it hot until I was ready for it. “Really?” I said with wonder.
And so he brought me my hot meal of poached eggs, spinach and a roasted tomato (pronounced to-mah-toe.)
And it was good.
I was jetlagged at yet another airport. It was night three of my important, multi-city business trip. With this new client, everything had to be just right. I checked my luggage on a puddle jumper not realizing that I was supposed to pick up my bag plane-side. I showed the gate agent my red ticket stub as I was boarding the next flight. She got the “uh oh” look on her face, and my stomach lurched. My suit and supplies were in that suitcase, and my class began at 8:00am the next morning. The gate agent saw my look of panic, and I could tell she cared. That’s customer service.
When it comes to our own customers, how do we create this kind of compassion? You could take a class, read a book, write a script or memorize a formula. These may or may not work. My suggestion is simpler. You can put it into practice right away, and it’s fun to boot. Are you ready?
Focus on your happiness. That’s right. Develop your own joy.
There’s a real connection between how you feel and how you treat others. When you are in an uplifted mood, it’s easier to care about how others are doing. Haven’t you spotted this in yourself? When you’re happy and you ask someone how they are, you actually care what they say in return. You look at the person deeper, and the conversation transforms from small talk to a moment of depth.
It’s a wonderful paradox that self care can be the best thing you can do for your customer. I’m not suggesting that you throw your papers skyward during a client meeting and take the first flight to Hawaii. I am suggesting that you to give yourself simple, day-to-day moment s of fun. You could turn off all electronics for ten minutes and do absolutely nothing. Or go out for sushi. Or maybe buy a bunch of daisies for your office or invest a few minutes to puzzle out a crossword.
As I took my boarding pass back from the gate agent, I thought I saw a fleeting, wild look on her face, the kind of look that made me think: she’s going to try to pull a miracle for me. Whether or not she delivers a miracle doesn’t matter. She wanted to. That’s customer service.
I was given the challenge to write one hundred things that I liked to do. After I got the first few down and my mind drew a blank, I needed to get creative. That’s how blowing bubble gum, picking berries, splashing in waterfalls, reading historical fiction, talking to my friend Tina, and salsa dancing have made it to the list. I was amazed that it took me until #76 to remember kissing!
The hotel phone woke me at 1am. My luggage had arrived, could they bring it up? Yes! I said and shouted to the ceiling – thank you airline lady! I was never able to thank my miracle worker personally. I hope she knows that her service had an affect on this one customer. And that it mattered. That’s customer service.