Thursday, May 29, 2008

Security With Service

His welcoming smile seemed to say it was going to be okay and the stress of getting through security was almost over. He extended his hand and said, "Good morning my name is Lance, where to Stephen?" His kindly use of my formal first name shook me awake from my early morning haziness and desperate need for coffee.

"Nice to meet you Lance. Headed to Las Vegas," as I gave him my boarding pass and driver's license.

"Excellent. Lots of things going on in Las Vegas this week it seems. Have seen off quite a few passengers going there this week. Are you going up for a little fun," he impishly asked as he completed his check of my boarding pass and driver's license.

I answered him that my trip, unfortunately was all business; a quick up and back in fact. He simply smiled and said, "Well you'll be walking through here tomorrow afternoon with a smile having not lost what you didn't put down." With that, Lance TSA Agent # 25082 gave me another big smile and said, "Do try and have a little fun while your up there won't you? Have a safe flight Stephen."

If you read my BLOG with any regularity, you know I am big on customer service. So imagine my surprise when I found this rather unique example of customer service occur right before my eyes and in one of the most unlikely places....the security gate of an airport!

As I meandered through the remainder of the line I continued to watch Lance interact with other passengers as they progressed through his check point. Each time he had something unique and different to say to each person. He would comment on the uniqueness of a person's last name or remind the person when their driver's license was going to expire. He wished one young woman a happy 23rd birthday a week from the next Tuesday which, as you can imagine, made her smile big time. I think she may have been in her early thirties which seemed to help strengthen her glow from the special attention that now other passengers were giving her.

Whoever the passenger/customer was, Lance made his point to do what he could to make the experience of going through his place in the security hierarchy just a little bit better. I wished I could have stayed there a little bit longer and watched him work his magic as there was no doubt Mr. Lance was creating a positive Ripple in the hearts and minds of the otherwise stressed, rushed, irritated and not yet awake morning travelers. That's good customer service in my mind.

I found myself looking for Lance TSA Agent # 25082 this past Friday as the family and I made our way through the security line at the airport to head to El Paso. Unfortunately he was no where to be found and the two encounters we had with separate TSA agents were not nearly as memorable. Unlike Lance, neither seemed to relish their job or their customers with nearly as much enthusiasm. Sad, but true.

We are all in the business of serving a customer each and every day (see my other posts on customer service). We can choose to simply do the deed and get the job done or we can take a page from Lance's book....and we can simply choose to do it better.

Which choice do you think a Rippler would make?


Arlin K. Pauler said...

Wow I can't believe that no one has jumped on the band wagon with this yet.
This is huge! This is where the rubber meets the road on this Rippling thing. I can’t help but jump up and down about how right on this example is. Just think about it people. Look at how many people’s lives are enriched by Lance’s simple gestures. And imagine how much more fun and how much more rewarding his Life at work must be. It is really so simple to make such a huge difference. And we can all do our own version of it.
Okey, I know may sound a little put on but the excitment is actually real.
Great message Steve.

Anonymous said...

I bet you didn't see Lance again because by rippling, he has moved on to something much better than checking drivers licenses and boarding passes. If I was a CEO of a retail business, I would have snapped him right up.