Delta Airlines Customer Service Story

Last week I was scheduled to fly Delta from Sarasota through Atlanta to Las Vegas to speak there the next day. Two weeks before the flight was to leave Delta suddenly changed the schedule, and as a result, even though I had purchased the ticket two months before, I lost my priority seating. By the time I called them the next day, all the seats in Delta Comfort were gone.

Since I am a Million Miler on Delta and also Diamond, the highest status, I am spoiled and was not happy about sitting in the very last row of seats in the plane, especially when I had paid $1400 for the ticket!

After I was seated, a lovely New York based flight attendant named Marianne Micheletto was talking with me while everyone boarded, and I told her my sad story. Later as she came around with the food cart, she said to me, “What would you like? It is on me.” So I had a nice cheese and fruit tray. Then, when she came again with the drink cart, she treated me to a white wine.

Now when you are in the back of the plane, you get nothing except pretzels and a soft drink, so she truly went above and beyond to make up for my displeasure with Delta. I was delighted!

A little while later I had gone back to the lavatory when I spied a package of my favorite potato chips on the counter (which you always get in First Class and Delta Comfort), so I asked another flight attendant if I could have a bag. She said, “Oh, no, these are just for the people in the front.” What a CONTRAST to Marianne! Later Marianne sneaked back with the chips for me with a huge grin – even she could not believe the other attendant.

It turned out that across the aisle from me were some young guys going to Las Vegas for a bachelor weekend before one of them got married, so they were having a gay time, and Marianne and I had such fun talking with them. Funny – because of Marianne and the guys, I actually had a better time in the back of the plane than if I had sat up front!

Finally, as I was getting ready to leave the plane, Marianne came over and gave me a hug and told me she was putting 5000 airline miles into my account to make me even a happier Delta customer. I was blown away by her caring and her attention to me, and I will certainly remain a loyal Delta customer, all because of Marianne!

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Kindness as a Way of Life


Be kind and merciful. Let no one ever come to you without coming away better and happier. ~ Mother Teresa 

This thought from Mother Teresa has long been a philosophy of life for me. My desire is that no one ever leave my presence or my presentations without feeling a little better about themselves. That is a CHOICE each of us can make in every interaction we have, simply by being kind!

Let me share a simple story with you about how I apply kindness in my life:

“One snowy February day I walked into the Ladies washroom at O’Hare Airport. There was a woman there who was cleaning. She was all hunched over, glum-looking, and listlessly going through the motions of her job. I walked over, gently touched her on the arm, looked her directly in the eyes, and said, ‘Thank you so much for keeping this washroom clean. You’re really making a difference for all of us who travel.’

She stopped what she was doing, looked at me with wonder in her eyes, immediately straightened up, and began cleaning with a passion, a huge smile spreading across her face. By the time I left, she was passing out towels to all the women who were washing their hands!

I left that washroom with tears in my eyes because that interaction had cost me nothing. However, it changed her life, at least for a few moments. My appreciation of her and the value of her very important work gave her a purpose and a reason for being. SHE WAS MAKING A DIFFERENCE!”

(Reprinted with permission from “The Simple Truths of Appreciation”)

That kind act is one which any of us could repeat, and think what would happen in your home, your workplace, and your community if everyone chose to be kinder. Kindness raises morale. Wouldn’t you like to live and work in an environment where everyone was kind? It is simple!

I have been blessed to speak all over the world on Customer Service, Employee Engagement, Appreciation and Recognition, and Creating Workplaces of Joy. My focus is always on how one person can make a difference no matter what his or her station in life or job may be, and kindness is an integral part of that message.

In my presentations, I always use a model I created many years ago to help me understand the choices I have to be kind and make a difference every day. In every interaction we have, we have a CHOICE to create a minus, a zero or a plus for that other person. Each time we are kind and recognize them as a human being with value, we leave that person with a plus. Think about how I created a plus for the person in the restroom.

Your Choice in any Interaction


Can you imagine a world in which everyone is kind to everyone else? Think about the last kind thing someone did for you and then think about the last kind thing you did for someone else. What difference did that act make in each of your lives?

Let’s look at an acronym to help you remember how to be kind:

K = Kinesthetic 

Touch enhances a sense of well-being. Just a simple handshake or touch of fingertips creates a connection between you and another person. So many people in our world today are desperate for the kindness of a gentle touch. In fact, research has shown that to be your healthiest, you need five hugs a day!

A friend’s husband tells about a manager he had who shook hands with each employee as they came in the door every morning. That simple act of kindness built trust, broke down barriers, and even the union members began to respect him as a kind man. After several years of working for him, when this manager thanked him for his good work, her husband came home and cried because it meant so much to him

Become aware, too, of your tone of voice, body language and facial expressions. Do you LOOK like a kind person? Remember that your words can make a huge difference. Mother Teresa says, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”

I = Imaginative

 Use your creativity to come up with ideas to be kinder to people. They will be surprised and you will have fun. Natalie Peace of Booster Juice Company started a “22 Days of Kiindness” program at three of the businesses she owned. She paid all 50 staff members to do shifts where their only duty was to perform creative acts of kindness : giving flowers to strangers, washing windows for neighboring businesses, and generally going out of their way to brighten someone’s day. She also ran a radio campaign to challenge others in the community. They even asked their customers to take a pledge to commit an act of kindness for the next 22 days.

She says, “There were so many wins from this creative initiative : free advertising for my businesses, more customers, increased loyalty among existing customers, and my staff became even more engaged and motivated. Did this make my businesses more profitable? You bet! But the truth is, I measure success on multiple bottom lines, including impact on my team and my community.”

N = Neighborly

Do you remember “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood”? He was one of the kindest men ever, and also think of State Farm Insurance’s motto: “Like a good neighbor, Sate Farm is there.” Even the Bible says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you think about someone who was a good neighbor, it was probably because they were kind and you could count on them. Look around your home, your workplace, and your community to find ways to be a better neighbor to those with whom you live and work.

D = Deliberate

 Be purposeful and deliberate in planning ways to be kind. You need to have a strategy. One of the ways I encourage my audience members to be kinder is the following: In the morning put five pennies in your right hand pocket, and every time you do something kind for someone, move one penny to the other pocket, Don’t go home that night until all five pennies are in the other pocket. This is also a great strategy to use with your team or your family. At dinner or some chosen time during the day, each person share what they did to show kindness to others.

Finally, kindness IS contagious. By becoming aware of how you use your body, getting your creative juices going, thinking like a good neighbor, and planning a strategy to be kinder, you will spread that spirit throughout your workplace and your community, leading to business success and a far more caring world.

“Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness.”


A member of the prestigious Speaker Hall of Fame and one of fewer than 700 Certified Speaking Professionals worldwide, Barbara Glanz, CSP, CPAE, works with organizations to improve morale, retention and service and with people who want to rediscover the joy in their work and in their lives.  She is the first speaker on record to have spoken on all 7 continents and in all 50 states.  Known as “the business speaker who speaks to your heart as well as to your head,” Barbara is the author of twelve books including The Simple Truths of Service Inspired by Johnny the Bagger®, CARE Packages for the Workplace, and 180 Ways to Spread Contagious Enthusiasm™. Voted “best keynote presenter you have heard or used” by Meetings & Conventions Magazine, Barbara uses her Master’s degree in Adult Learning to design programs that cause behavior change.  She lives and breathes her personal motto:  “Spreading Contagious Enthusiasm™” and can be reached at and



Are You Kind?

Next week I have been asked to be part of an interview on the subject of Kindness, so I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be kind. In my work in customer service, I use a three column chart model that has a minus column (-), a zero column (0) and a plus column (+). Below, it says “Your Choice in Any Interaction.”

It refers to the impact we have on each person we meet. We can either discount them and make them feel invisible or less important than us or our organization (-). we can simply do the work at hand (0), or we can make what I call a human level connection (+), seeing them as a unique and special person in the midst of that interaction.


These interactions do not have to be long or involved. We can focus on another person simply by asking and remembering their name, giving them a compliment, asking something personal about them, or just sincerely thanking them for being there. I tell my audiences that I want them to leave with this simple 3 column model in their heads so that connecting with people on this level becomes part of their daily life. This, to me, is what kindness is all about!

I recently realized how much a part of my life this practice has become when Jed Liuzza, one of my clients, introduced me as the opening keynote speaker for the Oklahoma University Medical Systems Leadership Symposium this fall. After my formal introduction, he shared what had impressed him most was that I LIVED what I was going to talk to them about. He said the minute he picked me up for dinner the night before, I had begun asking him questions about his family, his goals, and his interests, focusing on him as a human being.

Then, when we entered the restaurant, there was a couple with a baby, and he noticed I stopped and talked to the little one and told the parents how blessed they were. Then, he shared, I immediately asked the server her name and gave her a compliment. Finally, when I was introduced to the rest of the team, I asked during dinner to have each of them tell about someone who had greatly impacted their lives. They all told touching stories, and this allowed for a much deeper level of sharing the rest of the meal. What he said he noticed most, however, was how each person simply “came alive” when someone truly connected with them.


I was deeply touched by his words as all of these things I had done unconsciously, simply wanting to acknowledge each person as a precious human being.

One of my beliefs is that every person who comes into our lives is a gift. We have the choice to either open that gift or pass it by. Sometimes, depending on time and circumstances, we may only be able to untie the ribbon, but other times we can dig down deeper to the true gift inside. However, if we ignore that gift, it is a loss for both us AND the other person.

Being kind to me is noticing and loving all those persons with whom you interact, and that day I realized I was modeling the message I was going to be sharing without even knowing it!

Mother Teresa said, “Be kind and merciful. Let no one ever come to you without coming away better and happier.” In this new year, we all have the choice to make this our philosophy of life. I hope you will choose KINDNESS.

To learn more about Barbara’s work, go to

What is YOUR “White-Hot Why?”

What is your “White-Hot Why?”

Two weeks ago I went to the annual Global Leadership Summit at Willow Creek Church in Illinois. Throughout the two days of presentations from top level leadership gurus, the most prevalent message was the critical importance of finding purpose and meaning in one’s work.


An organization with a sense of purpose!

Bill Hybels, the lead pastor of this mega church, discussed the intangibles of leadership as the following:
• Grit
• Self-Awareness
• Resourcefulness
• Self-Sacrificing Love
• Sense of Meaning

He used the term, finding your “White-Hot Why.” Instead of thinking about WHAT you do and HOW you do it, start with WHY you do it. He even suggested leaders should have the title of “Chief Meaning Officers!” He referenced Bob Buford who writes about moving from Success to Significance, finding a sense of purpose or mission in your work beyond making money.

Jim Collins described an Engaged Culture as having three elements: First, a sense of Service to a cause or purpose; second, a list of BHAGs (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals), and third, Communal Success (all succeed by helping others succeed).

Horst Schulze says, “Don’t come to work just to work. Come to work to be proud of a purpose.”


Dan Pink tells us that purpose is one of the three big motivators for knowledge workers, along with autonomy and mastery. He writes:

“Autonomous people working toward mastery perform at very high levels. But those who do so in the service of some greater objective can achieve even more. The most deeply motivated people–not to mention those who are most productive and satisfied–hitch their desires to a cause larger than themselves.” (“Drive,” pg. 131)

Do you feel a PURPOSE in your work? Does your organization adhere to a cause larger than you or them? If not, what can you find in the work you do every day that inspires you and makes you feel as if you are making a difference? What is YOUR “white-hot why?”

To learn more about Barbara’s work, go to

Gus, the Singing Butcher!

I had the most delightful customer service experience at Publix this week. As I was waiting to get my sockeye salmon which was on special, I saw one of the regular butchers who always is happy and greets everyone with a smile and usually a joke. Since I rarely eat meat anymore, I had not seen him for some time on my grocery visits. But there he was –with a little display in the aisle sharing a new service Publix is offering for seafood.

I greeted him, learned his name, and told him how much I always appreciated his good humor when I saw him. Then this is what happened next:

I was so tickled that I asked him if I could videotape his “performance,” and he responded by telling me that he had several videos from customers on YouTube and one even from a customer from Brazil, and that, as a result, Publix was going to do a story about him in their company newsletter.

Not only is Gus a very good singer, but just like Johnny the Bagger®, he has definitely added HIS personal signature to his work!

Publix is lucky to have so many employees who care about their customers and use their special gifts to add more joy to the customers’ visits.

To learn more about Johnny the Bagger® and how he added his personal signature to his work, go to click here.

“The Rules ARE the Rules!”

I had a most frustrating (and also, sadly, very common) customer service experience in Colorado last week. I was visiting my sister in Grand Junction for a few days, and we decided to take a jeep tour to the mountains to see the fall colors.

Fall colors in the Rocky Mountains

On the way to Ouray, CO, to get the tour, we had enough time to make a quick stop at a garden shop where Beth wanted to look at some flower pots that were on sale. We noticed that they had a small restaurant there, and while she was looking at the pots, I asked to see a menu since we had not had time to pack a lunch before we left. I explained that we were in a hurry as we had to be in Ouray at a certain time to get the tour, so could they get something for us really quickly — we only had about 15 minutes extra. The waitress said yes, so we decided the easiest thing would be two wraps.

The menu had avocado crossed out on the turkey wrap (mine), so I asked if I could still have it added since avocado was available on other things on the menu. She immediately said, “No, we cannot make ANY substitutes!” That should have been a hint! Then we asked if we could just get the wraps and not the sides that went with them, and of course, the answer was the same.

My sister then went to the general counter and paid for the wraps to save time, and again we reminded them about our time issue. We then waited and waited — all the while hearing them talking in the kitchen and every once in awhile one of the waitresses would even walk out and put silverware on the tables. But, still no wraps!

Finally, after more than 15 minutes had passed, I asked where our lunch was because we HAD to leave. At that point, the waitress we had dealt with came out and said that there was another table outside that was ahead of us, so they had not even started our order yet — a fact she had never mentioned when we placed the order. How long could it possibly take to make two wraps, one of which even had pre-prepared filling?

Of course, we were distressed, so we told them we wanted our money back and to cancel the order. The waitress went back and we could hear them talking in the kitchen which again took more time. She finally returned and said she would have to find someone to do that — another 5 minutes went by when at last the owner came out. She said the kitchen was separate, so the chef would have to give us our credit. At that point, my sister said, “Why don’t you just give us a store credit as I shop here often.”

“No,” said the OWNER, “I can’t do that. I will send the chef out in a minute.” After several more minutes, the chef came out and FINALLY credited my sister’s card. But in the meantime, we were without any lunch, we were late for our tour, and we were VERY unhappy customers — all because no one was willing to bend the rules!

The tour waited for us, and we ended up having a wonderful time except for being very hungry! 😉

Our "tour bus"--made for a really rough ride on the mountain paths!

To learn more about how Barbara can help you improve your customer experiences, go to

Another Meeting???

Speaking at the American Specialty Toy Retailers Association in Baltimore

Speaking at the American Specialty Toy Retailers Association in Baltimore

Ever find yourself needing to hold a meeting and JUST dreading it?

You know what I’m talking about… the glassy eyes, the unresponsive faces, the doodlers, the far-away-day-dreamy looks, the dead silence after a question is posed, the annoyed or bored looks when you discuss difficult items… even the under-the-table-phone-checker/chatterers.

Do these all leave you with the eerie feeling that you aren’t exactly being heard and your audience is tuned out? WAY OUT?

YOUR time is valuable, and so is theirs! You already know that it is crucial that they:
A) Receive your information,
B) Participate fully and willingly in the purpose of your meeting, and
C) Take the actions that you need them to, QUICKLY (all in a timely manner.)

After all, you’ve all got a lot on your to-do list, right? If you are anything like me, that list is calling out to you and growing steadily even now. So, let’s get to it!

Three main points to getting the most out of your meeting, AND your team:
1) Be a planner! Plan your agenda in advance. Be concise and clear. Use examples where possible.
2) Incorporate some creative communication to surprise and engage your team. Visual, verbal, physical. Make it stand out.
3) Start with THE POSITIVE! Three minutes of good news at the beginning of the meeting will make your team more receptive to sharing, engaging and being productive.

My assistant told me a story about a large company she once worked for where meeting after meeting after meeting was held – to the point that if she attended all the meetings she was supposed to, there would literally be no time for her to complete her actual job function.

And, frankly, these meetings were boring–dry and all-business, meaningless, often redundant, with seemingly endless talking. They often ran over the time limit, and items that were on the agenda were not even discussed. Whiners would sometimes “take control” of the meeting and derail the speaker’s timeline. There was no humanity in it, no joy, no inspiration. Nothing was being solved, and it felt like a waste, she said. She often left these meetings feeling absolutely drained and somewhat diminished, even bewildered, thinking, “There go two hours I’ll never get back!”

Until, that is, the day that Lynn came to have a meeting! Lynn is a spit-fire. She EXUDES positive energy, has a giant smile stamped on her face (yes, ALWAYS!), and is clearly enthusiastic beyond measure. She knows her material, but it isn’t scripted; it seems, instead,it is seamless. She made a promise right at the beginning to her audience: “I’m going to be real with you. We’re going to have fun together! You are going to participate, so your phone goes in this basket over here! You will leave smarter AND you will know what to do.”

Lynn kept her promise, always, and held the audience to keeping their end up, also. Shirking or non-participation were NOT options, and it WAS fun! Lynn had them do exercises, and they always stood up to do an activity because she said, “You use 1/3 more of your brain when you are standing.” She had them participate in activities that either proved her point or that they could take back to their departments to use as training tools. There was ENERGY! There was LAUGHTER! There was productive REAL TALK and HONEST FEEDBACK! There were even FIELD TRIPS! People LOVED going to Lynn’s meetings and would look forward all month to the next one. People even came in on their day OFF to attend her meetings and always left energized, thinking, and inspired to take action.

It came to the point that if Lynn wasn’t holding the meeting, there was a silent sigh in the room. Everyone WANTED to go to Lynn’s meetings and do what Lynn asked them to do and work with Lynn to make a better project/product/workplace. She built trust and loyalty. She built a team, just by mastering the art of the meeting!

For more ideas on how to make YOUR meetings more productive, here’s a free
Video Q &A session addressing just that!

It’s your precious time we’re talking about, so let’s make it COUNT! Have a great week, and a phenomenal meeting! You CAN DO IT!

For more helpful ideas, feel free to explore my website,, where there are free videos, blog archives, speaking programs for hire, consulting, super books and DVDs and more- all to assist you with managing change, raising morale and retention, getting the most from your team, and improving customer service.

Video Q & A with Barbara Glanz

QUESTION: How can I quickly find out what customers think of our company?


For more questions and answers with Barbara, please visit Barbara’s Video Q&A

Customer Service in Houston

The people of Houston really know how to treat their guests! Recently, I was the closing keynote speaker for the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce.


The night before, I had stayed in the Royal Sonesta Hotel about two blocks away from the conference hotel since that hotel was full from another convention.

The next morning I needed to be at the conference hotel at 11:00 to check out the equipment and do a sound check before my keynote at 3:00. I had had a late night and needed to do some work in the morning, so by the time I was ready to leave, I realized I would not have any time for breakfast, and I needed the energy to be at my best for my client.

When I got down to the hotel lobby, I quickly found the restaurant and hurriedly asked the waitress there if they had a banana, explaining my rushed and rather desperate situation. (I figured a banana would hold me until lunch!) She ran to the buffet, grabbed a banana, and brought it back to me. When I asked her how much I owed, she simply smiled and said, “You just have a wonderful day.” How long has it been since any restaurant EVER gave you something for nothing? I was touched. ( A huge thank you to the service at the Royal Sonesta Hotel!)

Again, I hurried out to the lobby to walk the two blocks to the conference hotel, lugging my big computer bag, a bag of “show and tell” things for my presentation, and my huge purse. When I got outside, the wind was blowing so badly that I panicked. I rushed back inside to see if I could possibly get their shuttle to drive me over to the hotel. You see, they were videotaping me that day, and the walk over would have completely ruined my hair! 😉

I ran to the front desk, literally begging for the shuttle as I explained my predicament, but the person on duty said he was sorry, but it had gone to the airport and would not be back for 30 minutes. Dejected, I began to leave to make the dreaded walk over when a limo driver who had been waiting in the lobby and who had overheard my pleas, came up, smiled, and said, “Ma’am, I would be glad to drive you over.” My hero!

He loaded all my stuff in the trunk, gave me a bottle of water, and said, “Don’t worry. I’ll get you there on time.” Because these hotels were on a one way street, he had to drive several blocks over and down and then make a U-turn to get back on the right side of the street, so it was no easy task.

When we arrived at the conference hotel, he let me out of the car and unloaded all my “stuff” as I thanked him profusely and held out my credit card. He just smiled, shook his head, and said, “This is my gift to you. You just bring all those ladies a message of hope and have a wonderful day.” And of course, I gave him a big hug right there in the driveway! (Just for the record, his name is Osman Omar of VIP’s Transportation. If you ever need a ride in Houston, you can call my hero at 206-724-8067.)

After these precious experiences and then the amazing women I met at the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce conference, I can hardly wait to come back to Houston!

To read more wonderful customer service stories, check out Barbara’s books at

10 Simple Truths of Service

The Simple Truths of Service
TEN SIMPLE TRUTHS OF SERVICE from “The Simple Truths of Service Inspired by Johnny the Bagger”by Ken Blanchard and Barbara Glanz:

Since October is Customer Service Month, I want to share what Ken Blanchard and I have discovered as the ten simple truths of service. These are some questions both managers and employees can ask about their work to determine if they are implementing these ten truths in their organizations.

Do you collect and record customer service stories in your organization?

Do you encourage creativity and offering options from all employees?

Do YOU understand the choices you have in interactions?
Have you taught your employees and colleagues this concept?

Do YOU have a clear vision?
Are YOU contagiously enthusiastic about the importance of the work you do?

Do all employees know, can repeat, and buy into the vision?

Are you having fun in your workplace?

Do YOU as either manager or employees really believe this?
Are you sharing real life examples?

Do YOU as an employee go the extra mile for your customers?
Do YOU as a manager go the extra mile for your customers AND your employees (your internal customers)?

Do you check on a regular basis the customer retention statistics for your area of responsilbility?

Are you interacting with your customers on both the Business and the Human levels?
Are you managing your employees on both levels?

To order either the 17 minute movie of “Johnny the Bagger” and the Facilitator kit or to order the “Simple Truths of Service” book, click here.

If you would like Barbara to come to speak to your organization on customer service, you can reach her at or 941-312-9169.

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