“It’s about service to others, cause that’s what it means to be human. Everything about our make-up, our biology and our anthropology is designed to get us to look after each other.” — Simon Sinek
After I placed my order and gave the barista my name for the cup, I stepped to the cash register to pay and put my hand in my right pants pocket—to discover it was empty. So, I reached into my left pants pocket to discover it was also empty. “No problem,” my brain told my hand. “Try your jacket pockets.” EMPTY!
I could feel my mouth forming a nervous smile as I ran my hands through several more laps of every pocket I had in every stitch of clothing I was wearing. I eventually patted myself down like a cop looking for contraband, hoping my wallet or a little bit of cash would magically appear like a rabbit out of a hat. “I’m so sorry,” I said to the gentleman standing in line behind me who was getting agitated that it was taking me so long to pay.
Embarrassed, I finally gave up the search and told the barista to cancel my order. It was ever so apparent that in my rush to leave the house, I left my wallet and cash on my nightstand.
So, as I headed towards the door to leave, I heard someone behind me call my name. When I turned to see who it was, I saw the barista with a big smile on her face, motioning for me to return to the register. In a very pleasant and understanding tone she said, “It’s OK, Ron. I’ve got you covered,” before sending me on to the pickup station to collect my drink.
The awkwardness I had been feeling was suddenly replaced with a feeling of delight. No longer embarrassed, I smiled back at the barista and thanked her for her very kind consideration and for making my day. What I realized while waiting for my drink was, although the barista respected me as a customer, she was serving me as a fellow human being and in that moment, she truly made a difference in my life.
The cheerfulness I felt that morning stayed with me that entire day as I Iooked for ways to pay that incredible feeling forward to those I serve.
The random, memorable kindness of the barista is an excellent demonstration of the difference between serving your customers (or being of service to your customers) and interacting with customers as transactions. Think of serving as equal parts of being customer centric and being human centric.
As humans we naturally gravitate towards other humans who demonstrate that they have our best interests at heart. That means your business must have the DNA to be empathetic, to be a problem solver, to be a cheerleader for your customers’ success and to validate that you will always have their best interest at heart.
This isn’t just a mindset. It is a non-negotiable culture that must permeate at the top of your business so it can trickle down to every member of your team. And, it must be reinforced at every turn through training, re-training and reward.
Delighting a customer should not be a cherry-picked perk. It should be the priority with each and every customer interaction at every touch point from first contact through the entirety of their relationship with you and your business. It doesn’t have to be epic. A sincere smile, a genuine show of appreciation, a bit of empathy or an unexpected helping hand is enough to make a customer—a fellow human being—smile and to make a difference in their lives.
Businesses that excel at delighting their customers and being human to the benefit and delight of other humans will also enjoy the residual, business rewards of an exceedingly trusting, loyal, raving customer base.
Every day you have the exclusively human ability to make a difference in the life of another by looking after their needs. Seize it! It’s the most human thing you can do and it will draw other humans to you.
As always, I welcome your questions and feedback in the comments. Feel free to reach out to me through the email address that follows.
Ron is the author of “How To Speak Fluent “WOW!”—The Language of High-Spending, Loyal, Raving Customers.”
Contact Ron to speak at your upcoming event or to provide a special, Customer Experience training session for you and your team – email email@example.com or call (816) 224-4487.
“Ron Ruth delivered an exceptional keynote address to our company at our annual meeting. His energy and enthusiasm is contagious! Thanks for a little shot of inspiration Ron!” – Katie Casey | Crown Realty“Ron Ruth’s fun and entertaining presentations will engage your imagination and take you on a playful journey outside your comfort zone to explore the limitless innovative possibilities that can dramatically improve your passion for what you do and increase demand for your services.- Peter Merry, Speaker, Author, Business Coach