After a long week we find ourselves at Dallas/Forth Worth International Airport
It had been a long week, a week full of interviews, workshops, dinners, fellowship and travel from one site to another in Texas. I found myself at the Dallas/Fort Worth international airport on a Friday afternoon with my colleague. As there was some time before we would be boarding our flight back to the UK, we found a wine bar where we could sit, talk and drink some wine, together.
We ordered our wine and a friendly lady took our order and promptly returned with two glasses of wine. Immersed in conversation, with the glass almost full, I found that I knocked over the glass. The wine glass shattered and the wine poured onto the table and made its way to the floor. Suddenly, I found myself self-conscious and embarrassed.
An angel shows up and leaves me relaxed and at ease, soaked in humanity
One of the employees noticed our plight and came over to clean up the mess. She occurred as relaxed and helpful as if she had witnessed this kind of event many times. As she was cleaning up she talked to me and assured me that there was nothing wrong, that I had done nothing wrong, that the glasses shattered easily. And I was not the first person to knock over a wine glass.
I found myself delighted and grateful with this fellow human being. And I told her that. Specifically, I thanked her for recognising my embarrassment and putting her humanity into the encounter and thus easing my tension and leaving me relaxed. She got my thanks and I got she got my thanks – we both smiled at each other.
With our humanity in action and rapport established we found ourselves sharing our personal selves. She told me about her concerns/troubles like one of her parents being affected by Alzheimer’s disease. And what that brought with it given that she is the daughter. I found myself being touched by her humanity and reciprocated by telling her about my mother and how she is slowly losing her memory….. Then the time came for us to part company – each thanking the other, each grateful for the humanity the other put into the encounter. I know that to this day I think of that lady and wish her the very best.
Service does not get better than this
With the cleaning up done, the lady that had served us the wine came to the table and brought me another glass. She placed it on the table, smiled, and told me that it was on the house. Both surprise and gratitude were present for me and I found myself smiling and thanking her.
Nothing beats the human touch that touches the heart and leaves the customer feeling grateful
It occurs to me that in our data/technology/process obsessed culture we miss the importance of the people who work in the business and make the business work. Yes, it is the people that make the business what it is. And determine how the business shows up in the experience of the customers. Yet, customers also have a role to play. How customers treat the staff in the business and how the staff in the business treat customers makes such a huge difference.
If you want to generate customer advocacy then ..
I say that if you want to excel in generating customer advocacy then you have to excel at generating surprise, delight and/or gratitude. And the most effective way to do that is to have in place staff that delight in / excel at dealing with customers. Staff who have that human touch. My friend Richard Shapiro calls these folks ‘Welcomers’ and has written a book on it: The Welcomer Edge.
If you happen to be in the International Airport (Terminal D) then pay a visit to The Bodega Winery. Say hi to them for me – let the staff know that they have a grateful customer who remembers their generosity, their kindness, the humanity. Tell them I wish them the very best and hope that one day our paths will cross again.
I thank you for your listening; it is your listening that makes my speaking worthwhile; it is your listening that provides the motivational fuel that results in that which shows up here at The Customer Blog. I wish you a great weekend. I wish you a great week. I wish you great living. And I say, go out and touch a life! And if you are in business then touch your customer’s lives – that is how you generate advocacy.