I saw this and thought that I would make sure my readers saw this as well. I cannot take credit for writing all of this. However, it has a very important message. The message here is pertinent to all industries: Great customer service is simple.
First, you do what you say you are going to do when you say you are going to do it. Secondly, you find a way to differentiate your offering and/or you make your customer feel very special. Take a look at one example of how Johnny executed this strategy to perfection.
A man was walking down a beach one day when in the distance he saw a young woman who appeared to be engaged in a dance. She would reach down, touch her hand to the sand, stand up and cast her arm out toward
the sea. She kept repeating the motions. As he approached, he saw that the beach was littered with thousands of starfish that had been stranded by the outgoing tide and would die before the tide returned. The young woman was picking up the starfish and tossing them back into the water.
The man said, “What are you doing? There are thousands of stranded starfish. There is only one of you. What possible difference can you hope to make?”
The woman did not stop. Instead, she picked up another starfish, returned it to the sea, and said, “It makes a difference to this one.”
I started thinking about the difference a dispatcher makes in the lives of officers for whom they are a lifeline and in the lives of their communities for whom they provide a calm, strong, guiding light through adversity.
How are you making a difference?
Every one of you can make a difference. Think about something you can do for your customer to make them feel special.
Think about a bagger at a grocery store. How in the world can he make a difference? Let me tell you about a 19-year-old bagger named Johnny who has Down Syndrome. He heard the story of the woman on the beach and thought to himself: How can I make a difference?
“I didn’t think I could do anything special for our customers … I’m just a bagger.” Then he had an idea. “Every night after work, I’d come home and find a thought for the day. If I can’t find a saying I like, I just think one up.”
Johnny’s dad helped him print multiple copies of his “Thought for the Day” on a computer. Johnny cut them into separate slips, signed his name on the back of each and took them into work the next day. When he finished bagging someone’s groceries, he put his “Thought for the Day” in his or her bag and said, “Thanks for shopping with us.”
A month later the store manager told the owner, “You won’t believe what happened.” He told him that when the manager made his rounds that day, Johnny’s checkout line was three times longer than any other. He quickly paged for more cashiers and tried to get people to move to new lanes.
However, the customers said, “No, it’s OK, we want to be in Johnny’s lane. We want his ‘Thought for the Day.’”
A few months later the manager called the owner again and told him that Johnny had transformed the entire store. Now when the floral department has a broken flower or unused corsage, they find an elderly woman or a little girl and pin it on them.
“Everyone’s creating memories. Our customers are talking about us … they’re coming back and they’re bringing their friends.”
An illuminating sense of service spread throughout the store because one bag boy decided to make a difference.
As you are doing your job this week. Ask yourself how are you making a difference for your clients or customers? It would be easy to say we offer or sell a commodity so there is nothing I can do to make a difference. What is more of a commodity than groceries? Think about it.
Roger Bostdorff is president of B2B Sales Boost, LLC. He spent over 30 years with IBM in sales, sales management and general management. B2B Sales Boost is a consulting company helping organizations solve business problems. Learn more at www.b2bsalesboost.com or call 419-351-4347. To receive the B2B Sales Boost Newsletter, send an email to [email protected]