Make it Personal…Please!
Allow me to veer off the normal path and discuss something that has been brought to my attention time and time again over the last couple of weeks.
It seems to me more and more every day, we are losing the “personal touch” approach and are automating almost everything. Case in point: Last week I contacted a company and I was greeted by an automated voice that instructed me to SAY who I was. The next few minutes went like this: Automated Voice: “If you are a representative say representative”
Automated Voice: “Pardon?”
Automated Voice: “I’m sorry, if you are a representative say representative”
Me: “click” (I realize that I may speak with a little southern draw, but seriously…)
Now please don’t get me wrong. Sometimes you must automate… I understand this and I would be hypocritical if I said we don’t use automation, we do; but the point I want to make is that if you must automate, then the next steps forward to dealing with you MUST be taken personal. I know you get this point here. If, however, you choose (choose is a BIG word here) not to, and clients experience what I experienced, I feel you may be in BIG trouble!
This is what I would like each of us to do: Create a “pay it forward” approach if you will, and begin to make things personal…on purpose, not just in our business dealings, but in everything we do, a new commitment to valuing people. Here are a few simple yet effective ways to get rolling:
- Pay someone a sincere compliment: Yes that’s right, on purpose find an opportunity to sincerely brag on someone. Your spouse, a colleague or friend will do nicely. I recently had coffee with a great friend of mine and I could tell he had experienced a very exhausting day. We started conversing about an event he performed at over the weekend ( He is a great sax player…see I just paid him another compliment). He said he performed it solo without any music and stated that it would have been better with accompaniment. It hit me right then to pay him a sincere compliment. I said “You are such a good sax player, that anything you did would have sounded great”. A big ole’ smile came across his face; but it was much more than the smile, this little comment seemed to recharge his battery too.
- Let someone go ahead of you. I told you this was off the beaten path…but just do it. For example, instead of rushing ahead to block the car merging onto the freeway, let them in. This concept is simple enough, no further explanation needed right? Okay, moving on.
- Do something above the job description: I know we are busy and can’t always take the time to do the little extra BUT to really make it personal, culturally, as an organization, when we can, we go above and beyond the stated job description. For example: I recently told the story of the sprinkler man who stated he would not leave you until you were completely comfortable on how to use your control panel, or the attendant who actually put my cream in the coffee at the drive-up window. Finally there was the bank teller who completed my application for a new product for me and all I had to do was sign on the bottom line.
- Call a customer or client to check on them: If you have just encountered a client or customer that has made a recent purchase, call them to check and see that all is going according to plan. I have a physician friend who after seeing a new patient for the first time, would call them that evening to see if they got their medication in good order and expressed to them he hoped they are feeling better soon. WOW! Just a simple follow up is all that is needed here
None of the things described above can be found in the specifics of the job description, and none of the activities they performed were HUGE undertakings. They each made a personal choice to go above and beyond and create a HUGE impact on my perception of them AND their organization!
This list of ideas can go on and on and it is a PERSONAL choice. As I stated at the beginning of this post, based upon my recent experiences, I believe we are losing little by little; the personal approach and I want to in some small way, remind us of the benefits to valuing people in all areas of our lives.
And speaking of benefits…When we make it personal, we get a sense of satisfaction equal to that of the one we valued! When you see that smile light up someone’s face, or that look in their eyes when they experience the “beyond the job description” service and finally when you hear it in their voice “Thank you, I really appreciate what you did”; it doesn’t get much better than this and I PERSONALLY never want to forget this.
So thanks for allowing me to veer off a little. My challenge for you and me is to go out and the first opportunity you get; make it personal PLEASE. Feel free to share your comments and experiences. It would be great to hear from you. Let’s do all we can every day to keep the personal approach to business and to life alive and well.