If people don’t have in their hearts the desire to serve and make a difference for people, no matter what you do, they will not create great service. Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, often said that the secret of her success was hiring nice people and then permitting them to be as nice as they could be.
I totally support that concept. A nice person who cares is hard to beat, and customer service depends on nice people reaching out to their customers and creating memories. Let me give you an example.
As a professional speaker and author, I spend a lot of time in front of audiences all over the world. Since they have to look at me for extended periods of time, I always try to dress in a way that is bright, different and special, so people will have something interesting to see. I know that I am the visual!
One day as I was flying to another city, I found a gorgeous dress in a magazine advertisement. It was one of those perfect finds, a dress that was simply made for me. It was red, my very favorite color, and I was determined that I had to have that dress.
When the plane landed, I rushed to the nearest telephone to call the store and order the dress. When the salesperson answered, I breathlessly explained, “I’m a professional speaker; I am in front of audiences all the time and I always try to dress in a way that captures people’s attention. I saw this beautiful dress from your store in a magazine today. It’s my favorite color and I just have to have it.”
She chuckled and asked for all my information. She asked me about my speaking career and I told her that I most often speak on “Regenerating Spirit in the Workplace.” She replied, “Wow, we really need that here!” She then said, “I can tell that you really love that dress, Barbara, and I will do my very best to find it for you. I’ll call you back at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning to let you know.”
The next day at exactly three minutes after ten, she called. She began by saying, “Oh, Barbara, I’m heartbroken. I know how much you wanted that dress, and I did my very best to find it. I called fourteen different stores in eight different states, but I simply could not find it in your size. I am so terribly sorry to disappoint you, because I know your heart was set on having it.
“But,” she continued, “we just got a new shipment in, and I found another, very similar dress in your size and it’s red, your favorite color. I went on your website, saw your wonderful pictures, and think this dress would look really good on you. Even though it’s not the one you wanted, I think you might like it. Would you want me to ship it to you at no charge to see if you like it?”
What a special experience that was! Even though I did not get the dress I had my heart set on, I got something even more special—a person who cared. I did not have her send out the other dress, but guess who I called the next time I wanted something to wear on stage?
When it comes to great service, there’s no substitute for a caring heart. Johnny’s big heart transformed an entire grocery store. The good heart of the salesperson that searched for my red dress turned me into a Raving Fan customer. The final truth is this:
When the heart is in the right place,
the ego gets out of the way.
That’s when great service
comes shining through.