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The Smiling Customer is You!

The Smiling Customer is You!

Lifehack for the day: Make your customer service experience vastly better for only the cost of your attention.

Here’s an example.

In meeting the demands of my coaching business, I fly inter-island frequently between four of Hawaii’s larger and most populated islands. I’ve racked up enough miles to normally access the up front aisle seat selections with my online bookings, and my road warrior habits are pretty fine-tuned at this point; I’m primed to dig into some mobile work I’ve packed to go within mere seconds of settling into my chair and buckling my seat belt.

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By the time the flight attendant begins their safety briefing I’m well into some project work I’ve brought with me. However once they launch into their briefing, I stop whatever I’m doing, look up attentively, and give them an audience.

At first they are just going through the motions pretty distractedly, for they’ve done it a hundred times before to scores of people who pay them no heed whatsoever. They are more like automated robots than breathing human beings, except that their discomfort is so visible. They’re rushing through it to escape the boredom and indignity of it all as soon as they possibly can, and their speeding hand motions do not match up to the voice over the cabin loudspeakers meant to accompany them. They can do the most unconscious things midstream, like chewing on a wisp of hair which flicked across their lips, scratching their noses, or openly frowning at some passenger who has irritated them, so confident are they that of the dozens of people facing them all eyes are turned away.

Sometimes they’ve become so wooden in their self-preservation they will never notice I am watching them, despite my choice seat selection in what should be their most direct view point. Completely oblivious to the voice still talking about the safety card in our seat pockets, they’re scrambling to return their oxygen masks and other props to the overhead bin where they get stashed, for that will mark the end of the entire distasteful affair for them.

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However when they do notice me watching and smiling at them, something else happens. The effect is always the same.

Initially, they continue at the same let’s get this over with pace, and their eyes warily watch to see if they’ll be able to hold mine or not. I acknowledge their gaze, and keep smiling at them, now a little brighter, and they quickly take in the astounding fact that I am not just as bored as they are —I’ve actually stopped my work, my looks important work, to pay attention! Amazing; I really am watching and listening.

Now they smile back, and they begin to slow down. The robot disappears, and I can see the warmth of their very human spirit begin to surge through them. I start to see why this person was hired as the appealing face of the airline, and for the next few moments their aloha has surfaced to bask in its glory. The safety briefing has become important again. They have become important again, and the entire dynamic has changed.

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What was the difference? I was. Not me specifically, but my attention and my respect for what they were doing. We as customers can make all the difference in the world; we can effect the warm and gracious customer service experiences we want by the way we ourselves engage and participate in them.

I love when I’m able to achieve this bright spot in the monotony of a flight attendant’s day. The minutes are so few, and the result so large. The entire flight seems to go so much better after that. Hawaiian interisland flights are barely longer than 45 minutes per leg, and it’s rare that I will need any service. However should the need arise, you can be sure I get served well; my now smiling flight attendant is watching to be sure I do.

In this holiday season, where great customer service gets increasingly harder to find in the frenzy of shopping’s busiest time, help those serving you to feel you care about what they do. You can make your own magic happen too.

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Rosa Say

is the author of Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business and the Talking Story blog. She is the founder of Say Leadership Coaching, a company dedicated to bringing nobility to the working arts of management and leadership. For more of Rosa’s ideas, click to her Thursday columns in the archives; you’ll find her index in the left column of www.ManagingWithAloha.com


More by this author

Rosa Say

Rosa is an author and blogger who dedicates to helping people thrive in the work and live with purpose.

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Last Updated on June 13, 2019

How to Quit Your Boring Life and Start Living an Interesting One

How to Quit Your Boring Life and Start Living an Interesting One

Think you have a boring life?

The definition of boring is dull or not interesting. Maybe you’ve been doing the same thing and living the same life for too long, or maybe your daily routine is limiting your growth and happiness. Whatever your reason is, the following list of 20 things can definitely make any day more interesting. Some of them are silly, while some are more meaningful, so hopefully just reading the list makes your life less boring and sparks your creativity.

Let’s dive in the list to quit your boring life and start living an interesting (and meaning) one!

1. Channel Your 7-Year-Old Self

What would he or she want to do right now? Color? Paint? Run around outside? Play dress up? Eat with your hands? Play that instrument hiding in the back of your closet that you haven’t touched in years?

Just because you’re a grown up doesn’t mean any of this stuff will be less enjoyable than you remember it. Give yourself permission to play.

2. Go Play with Kids

Speaking of little kids, if you have your own or access to any (in a non-creepy way, like they’re your niece or your best friend’s kid, you get the idea) go play with them!

They didn’t create an entire show called Kids Say The Darndest Things because kids aren’t hilarious. They also keep things so simple, and we can really stand to be reminded of this and stop allowing ourselves to get bogged down in boring details.

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3. Order a Hot Dog

While you’re eating it, Google: “What’s in a hot dog?” You decide whether or not you want to finish it.

4. For the Ladies: Wear Your Sexiest Lingerie Under Your Work Clothes

Your “little secret” will leave you feeling anything but boring all day!

5. Play Cell Phone Roulette

You’ll need at least one buddy for this. Scroll through the contacts in your phone, stop on a random one and call the person.

You could spark an incredible catch up session or be incredibly awkward. Neither are boring.

6. Fill out a Pack of Thank-You Cards

Give them to random people who probably don’t get thanked too often for doing what they do ever day.

Ideas: police officers, librarians, servers, baristas, cab drivers, sanitation workers, teachers, people behind any check out counter, receptionists, your friends, the guy at the falafel stand, etc.

7. Sign up for a Class in Something You’ve “Always Wanted to Do”, or Something That Makes You Really Uncomfortable

Ideas: pole dancing, salsa lessons, improv, pottery, cooking, knitting (yup, there are classes for this, too!), karate, boxing, something techy like the workshops they run in Apple stores, get Rosetta Stone and learn that language you’ve always wanted to speak, etc.

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What’s good about joining an interest class is that you will also meet new people!

8. Interview Your Grandparents About Their Lives

You can bet they’ve had some crazy experiences you probably never knew about.

9. Get up on Stage at an Open Mic Night

Whether you’re funny or not, get up on stage and just talk funny. And if you’re not, memorize a few of your favorite jokes and tell those!

10. Do Something for Someone Else That You Wish Someone Would Do for You

We all have a few ideas on this list. I promise you will feel amazing after and anything but bored.

11. Start a DIY Project in Your Home

It doesn’t have to be super complicated. If you need ideas, there’re plenty on Pinterest. Or you can also check out these 30 Awesome DIY Projects that You’ve Never Heard of.

12. Plan a Weekend Trip or an All-Out Vacation

This will give you something to look forward to.

Even if you don’t have the time or money to go on a vacation, plan for a staycation, which is same fun and relaxing!

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13. People Watch

Find a bench in a crowded area (centers of transportation like airports, bus stops and train stations are great for this!) and just observe.

People are infinitely interesting.

14. Eat Something You’ve Never Eaten Before

Bonus points if it’s a random fruit or veggie.

15. Dance

You can get your friends together for a night on the town or just pull up a video on YouTube and bust a move from your own living room.

If you’re feeling extra brave, you can even dance in public and get other people involved.

16. Go to YOUTUBE and Search “Funny Pets” or “Funny Babies”

This is also a great quickie ab workout as you will be laughing hysterically.

17. Pick up a Book and Start Reading

Check out the NY Times Best Sellers lists and grab a new book you can get lost in.

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18. Step Away from the Computer and Go Get Some Time with People You Care About in Real Life

Facebook stalking doesn’t count as real social interaction. You can even share this post with your friends and vote on which one you’d like to do together!

19. Check out a Museum You’ve Never Been to Before

OK, depending on your interests, this one might actually be boring. If you love learning, art or different cultures though, this one is for you!

20. Write a List of Things You Desire and Truly Want

This is a great way to help you figure out the real reason why you’re feeling bored about your life. Maybe you haven’t really done things that you truly enjoy? Maybe what you’ve wanted to do all the time has been left behind?

Think about the list of things you really want to do, and ask yourself why you aren’t doing these things (yet). Then start taking your first step to make what you want happen.

Now go make your life interesting and live your dream life!

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Featured photo credit: Kev Costello via unsplash.com

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