A few minutes ago I hung up from a call with Verizon. I had spoken with Jason, one of their representatives. We had the fairly typical opening exchange including me asking him how he was doing today. Instead of the usual "fine, and you?" he gave a much more interesting answer. He shared that he was having a great day and was about to have an interesting combo of Mountain Dew and Cherry Coke. While I don't post about it, I too am a soda mixer. My favorite is 2/3 diet and 1/3 regular (Coke or Pepsi - I'm not that brand loyal with my colas). When we were done with our business, I asked Jason how he was enjoying his mix. "Loving it!" he said enthusiastically. Jason had immediately made a connection with me - and a very positive one. He had no idea I'm so soda-centric but he took a chance. He made a regular service call into one that was a lot of fun.
This past Wednesday, I was running with my dog. Since moving back to New York, I've got a little pattern going where I run with Sabrina two or three days during the week and I do my long run on the weekend on my own or with the NYC Galloway Running Group. Sabrina and I alternate between a Central Park Loop or a route from our place up to Columbia which is about 7 miles up and back. When we do the Columbia route, we always stop at the same cart where I buy a bottle of water and then I ask for a cup so Sabrina can get some hydration. This past Wednesday, after pulling my water out of the ice, I looked up to see my cup waiting for me on the counter. Clearly, the guy remembered us and had it waiting for me. "Now I'm home" I said to myself.
My point - besides letting you know how much I enjoy soda and running - is that both of these individuals did simple things that were funny, personal, kind and entirely memorable. In Jason's case, he took a chance and shared something a little quirky about himself. In the case of my friend at Columbia, he took the time and effort to do something to show me he cares and remembers his customers.
Surprise! I don't have three bullets or tips like "always share a dietary preference" or "be sure to remember one thing" about every customer. That would be absurd since everyone has their own interesting things that make them unique. What I am suggesting is take the time to share a bit of yourself whatever that looks like. It makes for better relationships. It makes for better business. It makes the experience all the more memorable.
Robert is an Executive and Business Development Coach. You can read him here or on www.younonprofitnow.com