If you’ve heard me speak, read my books, or watched the story of The Red Carpet Way, then you know that our definition of Red Carpet Customer Service is to make the person in front of you feel significant, important and special. You may remember the story of how my Mom rolled out a red carpet for my grandparents when they returned from their once-in-a-lifetime trip to Rome, Italy. Mom has a knack for turning an ordinary moment into an extraordinary special event, and the memory of watching them be welcomed home like stars of the silver screen clearly had an impact on me.
However, with Father’s Day just past, I found myself dwelling on the gifts my Dad gave me. He was, in fact, a true customer service role model for me. Philip Bouchard (or to me, Dad) was the epitome of making others feel significant and important and always added an air of fun to everything he did.
Customer Service Advice and Example
His work ethic was uncompromising. I remember the advice he gave me when I got my first job at the local pharmacy/convenience store. He told me, “don’t worry about what your co-workers are doing or not doing. You just do your best and look for ways to be helpful.” Great advice that has served me well.
Yet, it was his example in customer service that had the biggest impact on me. Whether it was saving someone’s cat from being trapped under a bathtub (read that story in the 501Ways Book) when he was a construction foreman; or delighting the elder customers of his convenience store (aptly named Phil-a-Deli) with his warm smile, quick wit, and habit of knowing their names; or charming the customers in the PUBLIX produce department with his positive attitude and penchant for literally singing while he worked, Dad knew how to make those around him feel great about themselves!
Isn’t that the Red Carpet Way? Isn’t it about making that person in front of you feel good about themselves? It may sound cheesy – but in this way, I think great customer service is also helps make the world a nicer, kinder place.
Dad once told me one time about a customer at PUBLIX who was always upset about something. She was the kind of customer that sent others into the back room hiding by her mere presence. One time her wrath was directed at Dad and she left saying, “Well, I’m heading to New York to see my grandkids. When I come back we’ll just see if I’m shopping at Publix or Albertons!” Then she stormed off.
A month or so later she was back. My Dad spotted her and in his jovial way exclaimed, “Hey New York! How was it? How are your grandkids?” She stopped, delighted, and shared photos and stories of her beloved grandchildren. There were no complaints that day and on future visits she would seek him out just because she enjoyed chatting with him.
Sometimes it simply helps to show interest in another person.
Two weeks before Dad passed of lung cancer, he was moved into a Hospice House. Even in his dying days, he pulled himself together to entertain his many guests. Four of his five remaining siblings (he is one of fourteen) flew down to Florida from Massachusetts. His golfing buddies showed up. So many of his co-workers from Publix. He was the one dying, and yet, he spent his last days making everyone else feel good – well, as good as we possibly could under the circumstances.
What struck me were the stories we heard. Story after story of how Dad encouraged others, opened doors for them, and made each person feel good about themselves.
Yes, my Dad was my role model for excellent customer service. It was his natural talent to make others around him feel happier than they were ten seconds ago and THAT, my friends, is the Red Carpet Way!
Now, I’d love to hear from you. Who is your customer service role model? Comment below and let me know.
Donna Cutting is the daughter of Philip and Patricia Bouchard, and the author of 501 Ways to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers and The Celebrity Experience: Insider Secrets to Delivering Red Carpet Customer Service. She is the Founder and Chief Experience Officer of Red Carpet Learning Systems, Inc, and leads a team of experts who help organizational leaders engage their teams to improve the customer experience.