Friday, April 21, 2006

When You Make A Difference


I just returned from a training program that I was giving on customer service. I really enjoyed my class as all of the people that attended were engaging, fun and willing to listen. It is always a plus when you have a good time and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know these folks.

I talk a lot, especially in my BLOG, about how the small things do make a big difference. Never before was that more obvious than yesterday when we were talking in an open format about our previous customer service experiences.

We were going around the room and talking about what it means to exceed a customer's expectations. We were discussing specifically how it makes the customer feel and ultimately how it makes you feel when you know you have gone the extra mile and done something good for someone else.

When I called on this one particular group this adorable young lady named April offered up an emotional account of going the extra mile for an elderly customer. He had suffered some sort of accident in World War II and now had no way to communicate other than by a hard to understand voice box. He had a issue that had come up with his taxes and it was apparent he was confused and didn't understand. Furthermore, it sounds like his inability to really communicate was additionally frustrating him.

As this young woman told the story her eyes swelled up with tears. It was apparent that this particular man had touched her heart. As she continued to tell her story of how she sat down and helped him and how grateful he had been, you could have heard a pin drop as everyone in the class was hanging on her every word. It was intense but very inspiring.

The participants of this class all happen to work in a position where they aren't often thanked or acknowledged for what they do. Most of them work for the State of Texas in various capacities collecting or assessing taxes. That by nature makes them the target of many frustrated and often angry customers.

April and her colleagues may see dozens of unhappy customers in a day. Some she can help and send them back out into the world with a smile. Some won't ever smile and leave, behind a string of obscenities. It would be easy to grow cold and callous in a job like that. But April hasn't nor have of the others in my class.

On that particular day she was able to do something that made a difference. The little old man certainly knew it! As she finished the story it was obvious that she was there not to dwell on all the negative that comes standard with that kind of job. No, April is there so every once in a while she can make a difference to the people who need it the most.

If that isn't a ripple, I don't know what is!

Ripple On My Friends!!!

Steve Harper

P.S. For those of you in Austin...be sure to sign up for the upcoming 8 Minute Ripple! Go to www.therippleeffectbook.com and register today!

1 comment:

Maria Palma said...

Steve,

Each of us has the opportunity every day to make a difference in someone else's life. I commend you for all that you do and taking that step to make this a better world to live in :) Thanks...