I travel quite a bit for my job. It takes me all over the world. Working for a sales-and-service company that focuses on the internal and external client experience, I always have my antennae up for great experiences.
I am always intrigued when people from other countries tell me they come over to the U.S. to evaluate and learn from the American service industry. Granted, we have some real role models that can be used as case studies and have certainly proven themselves, but some of the names they throw out leave me scratching my head.
One of the best and most unexpected experiences for me happened on a trip to Cape Town, South Africa. I was staying in a hotel that was nice, had great rooms, and seemed to be average overall. During my two-week stay, I ate breakfast in the restaurant every morning. My usual breakfast consists of cereal, orange juice, and coffee, so the big extravagant buffets were not a positive. They cost me money. During the second week of my stay, the hostess approached me and said she needed to speak with me. She said that she had watched my selection of breakfast every day and didn’t think I should have to pay for the full buffet, so she had already asked her manager to give me a refund for my first week and every day during my stay. I was amazed and delighted.
What she displayed was a real interest in her customer and a proactive approach. Companies are made up of people, and your people have the opportunity to amaze and delight every day. Have you given them the tools and environment so they can? Have you given them the training and coaching so they can amaze and delight? Do you remind them on a regular basis of the opportunity they have to do this? If not, take the time to amaze and delight your team, so they can amaze and delight your customers, so they become your advocates.
I’ve told that story everywhere I go, and I am still writing about it 4 years later, because that doesn’t happen to me very often.
Johanna Lubahn is Managing Director of Call Center Services for Cohen Brown Management Group, Inc.