By Ron Rosenberg
Sometimes it's the little things that can make a big difference. Whether it's remembering a bit of information about a customer's family or doing something special and unexpected, the impact you have on other people can have far-reaching and positive outcomes.
Fortunately, there’s no shortage of examples, and we’re going to look at three of them you can adapt immediately in your own daily life.
Your Room is Ready!
We have some good friends who are what people call “cruisers” – they like to take their vacations on cruise ships, and in their case, on Royal Caribbean. They travel this way at least once a year, and it’s like an “alternate universe” for them – it’s a kind of “community” where they simply relax and unwind.
Being smart and wanting to squeeze every drop out of their time away, they tend to completely disconnect from the rest of the world while they’re on a cruise, and we generally don’t hear from them except for the occasional text message when they pick up Wi-Fi somewhere – and this is usually accompanied by an interesting photo.
In this case, it was the picture above of the “towel animal” that the cabin attendant left for them after making up their room one morning. Apparently, this is something of an art form on cruise ships, and it has the very definite effect if increasing the level of tips they get.
The great thing is that, unless you’ve already experienced this on a previous cruise, it’s a really nice surprise. And when someone does something nice for you that’s completely unexpected, it leaves an impression that can influence the entire future of the relationship.
What Was Your Name Again?
This next one is a “little thing” that has an incredible effect on people: remembering people’s names and faces. I promise you that when I teach an in-house training program or facilitate a board retreat, and I address each participant by name when I’ve only just met them a few minutes earlier, their jaws drop in disbelief. And I think they pay closer attention to what I’m saying than they would have otherwise!
Granted, this is a skill that takes some effort to develop (and we have resources to help you do this), but the process is fairly straightforward. Once you learn it, you can remember people’s names and faces, information about their businesses, their families, and their interests, and even details of meetings and interactions you have with them.
Like the “towel animals,” this can have a profound effect on your customers, clients, and members. Over the years, I’ve had the following interactions with people:
- Met a previous program attendee in the parking garage of her building, greeted her by name, and asked about her daughter – whose name and approximate age I had remembered
- Greeted people by name at conventions when I haven’t seen them in at least a year
- Taught thousands of people how to double their memory in 90 minutes or less
And I’m not sharing this information to boast about my memory or teaching skills – far from it – I’m only trying to stress the importance of developing and honing these skills, and using them deliberately and intentionally to make closer connections with the people who are important to you personally and professionally.
This is Just for You!
The last example I’d like to share with you can be applied with significant impact in almost any situation: doing something nice for someone else. These days, it seems like it’s “every man for himself” and when you do something completely unexpected – and with no ulterior motive – it tends to shock people into a stunned silence.
Some examples of simple gestures include buying a baseball cap to give to someone from their favorite city that you happen to be visiting there, buying earrings with musical notes for a friend who is a composer, giving away USB cards with lots of important content they specifically need to help them be more successful, and allowing people who’ve purchased one of our packages to schedule a free follow-up call if they have specific questions about what we covered during the session.
Admittedly, some of the business-related examples I described go a bit beyond “little things,” but when someone decides to implement what they’ve learned at a live program or consulting session, I like to reward that kind of commitment and follow-through.
Beyond Customer Service?
Does any of this fall under the broad heading of “customer service” or is it just common courtesy taken beyond a “normal” level?
Or is the distinction even important? What I do know – and what you should consider – is that these gestures, large or small, have an impact on the people you interact with that can only have a positive effect – and if that’s not good service, I don’t know what is.
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