Work That Inspires
What does it take to be inspired by the work someone ELSE does? Personally, I relish seeing people love their job. When I catch someone who runs after their tasks with enthusiasm, bringing all of their best ideas and energy to their assignment, I am encouraged.
Such is the case with the story below. I wrote this post almost two years ago and it still inspires me to be creative and always put my best foot forward!
~~~~~~ REPOST ~~~~~~
Billy "needed" to upgrade his phone.
The good news: Apple had released their latest iPhone just a few weeks ahead of his upgrade trigger. The bad news: iPhone demand outstripped the supply. That meant Billy had to play the waiting/searching game along with every other iFanatic in the north Georgia area.
Periodically, he would psych himself up and call local stores to see if any had come in...knowing that every call would come with endless amount of inane on-hold music, peppered by the occasional "Your call is valuable to us. Please remain on the line..." The painful process was intensified knowing the typical response would be that there were no iPhones available.
Still, one day after holding for 15 minutes or so, the silence was interrupted by the following (verbatim):
"Hey! Thanks for calling the Apple Story - It's Peaches! What's shaking?" (As you can imagine, that wasn't the opening Billy was expecting.)
"Um - not much... I guess. I was calling to see if you had any iPhones in stock."
"Well, it's your lucky day! We've got three here. Why don't you sashay on over and get yourself one?"
Which is exactly what he did.
Kind of...I mean Billy was so happy he felt like sashaying.
Can you imagine?
Suddenly the "on hold" experience was over-shadowed by a fun, delightful exchange with Peaches.
Words like entertaining, unique, memorable applied. The exchange registered to the point that we discussed how under-used the expression "what's shaking" is. We laughed at the idea of Billy "sashaying" anywhere. We spent time talking about a customer service phone call in a good way.
Think about how many utterly professional interactions you've had with companies that have ultimately escaped notice, let alone long-term memory. Sure, the interactions are polite and professional, with qualified and knowledgeable employees, but are they fun and/or memorable?
How many times a day do I pay for goods and services and have pleasant, unmemorable experiences? Often.
I get what I pay for. I am treated well and moved through the line - the boarding process - the payment cycle - and it's all fine and good. It just doesn't make a big impression. Interactions don't prompt any further conversations, let alone humor. "Blah" is the prevailing sentiment. Most of what we experience with service organizations is that way...and I am not really sure why. (I'll carve out Southwest Airlines and maybe this random Pizza Hut in India - but those are stories for a different post!)
I think most companies behave as if there's a tradeoff between professionalism and creativity/fun. They fall into the trap of thinking it is an either/or. At a minimum, they err on the side of professionalism and push creativity to the side. I think that's a mistake. Creativity gives people an experience - a story - that leaves them laughing, talking, wondering...
... and, as you can guess, THAT impression lasts longer.
Do you have a POSITIVE customer service you still talk about?