Look out for the little BIG things that your employees do every day. Awesome customer service choices (even if small) add up.
And, more importantly – they are helping you keep your business alive. Look for your hidden gems! They work hard, take pride in their work, and usually have a smile on their face.
According to the Workplace Reinvention Model, employees that work in a culture of Individual Leadership:
– Take ownership in their work and are engaged.
– Have initiative, and a take-charge attitude.
– Hold themselves accountable to his or her personal objectives.
– Understand and manage their personal impact on the brand’s reputation and success.
This translates into awesome customer experience and significant business outcomes!
6 examples of little BIG things, and the awesome people that show Individual Leadership
Little BIG example #1
I was buying groceries this week at Fortinos. The customer service person looked at me with a warm smile and said “hello”. She moved my groceries through the scanner quickly, and started to bag my items.
I felt a little odd just standing there while she worked so I tried to be “helpful”. I grabbed a bag and started stuffing items into it. The friendly woman looked down at my bag, and paused just for a second. She then took my bag and rearranged my items so that they weren’t a crazy mess – and then added another item. This is one of those little BIG moments!
I smiled at her and said, “I can see you take great pride in your work. You couldn’t leave my groceries in disarray.” She laughed and thanked me. ISN’T THIS AN EMPLOYEE THAT YOU WOULD LOVE TO HAVE? Doesn’t this speak volumes of her character, her work ethic, her ownership of the job she has?
A couple of months back, my husband and I were shopping for a used car. We had been to a number of car dealerships, and every lot had balloons. My son is 20 months old, and is excited about a lot of things INCLUDING….balloons.
However, it wasn’t until the sixth dealership that my son received a balloon from a salesperson.
Parry, from Sterling Honda, interacted with my son, and gave him a balloon. Aside from the balloon, he came across as VERY genuine, absolutely dedicated and seemed to have joy in his work. Even when the dealership was closing he was smiling, friendly, patient, and kept saying “there is no rush – take all the time that you need”. We informed the used car sales manager of his excellent customer service. The manager had a genuine smile, thanked us, and told us that a lot of people find him great to work with.
After reading Honda’s Fundamental Beliefs, I know that Parry is in alignment with Honda’s brand. Looking back at my time at the dealership, Parry’s actions clearly show that he understands his personal impact on the brand’s reputation and success.
I should also mention that he held his spectacular attitude even though the car we were debating about was a 2009 Subaru (at a Honda dealership). As well, we ended up staying an hour after close…but we did buy the car from him…that night.
I went to Turtle Jacks with my husband and son (at the time he was 14 months). Our server was very friendly, “chatted” with my son, and took our order.
When she returned, she had our son’s dinner in hand….BEFORE OURS! We didn’t even ask her to do this. She said she thought it would be helpful that we didn’t have to eat and feed him at the same time. As well, she also told us that she took out the grilled peppers and broccoli, but left just the carrots because she noticed that most babies just ate the carrots. I sincerely thanked her because our son was having difficulty eating some vegetables. The little things ARE the BIG things.
Knowing this restaurant, we know that this was not standard practice. She was simply making exceptional customer service choices. Great initiative and forward thinking! We informed the manager on the spot how amazing our experience was.
Have you ever gone through a check-out and were asked, “Did you find everything you were looking for?” On the rare occasion, I have said, “no”. In return, I generally get a confused look, and “oh, I’m sorry to hear that”.
However, in this example the cashier held herself accountable for my customer experience. She asked what the item was, quickly paged someone, and continued to scan my items. She didn’t hold up the line. I paid for all of my items, I stood off to the side as directed, and she went on to the next customer. When the employee who had been paged returned holding the item that I was missing, she directed me to go to the customer service desk where I could pay for the one item.
On vacation with my husband and son, we stopped into The Bargain! Shop, in Haliburton. As we were getting ready to leave, the sky opened up and the rain came pouring down. My husband was just about to get our car (that was parked a few blocks down the road), when a little BIG thing happened. Susan (a store Associate) gave us a friendly smile, and immediately offered my husband her umbrella to borrow.
Susan’s act is certainly in line with The Bargain! Shop’s mission to provide super friendly service. This shows that she understands the objectives of the company. However, I would also like to add that she also displayed Authentic Humanity (a term from the Workplace Reinvention Model). She made an authentic connection with us (as her customer), by helping us when we were in need. And for that, we were truly grateful.
Little BIG example #6
I was shopping for a new watch, and found what I was looking for at The Bay. It had some bling (no not real diamonds) and I was hoping that it would be in my price range. And….it wasn’t.
The Hudson’s Bay Associate took pity on my dilemma and said, (with a genuine smile), “it might go on sale on the weekend”. For anyone that knows The Bay, this isn’t an extraordinary statement. You can always find sales at The Bay on the weekend…but I didn’t know if the watch would be on sale. I was just about to walk away from my arm candy, and then a little BIG thing happened.…The Associate said, “The flyer is just about to break. And, I believe it is down at the shipping dock”. She then called down to the dock, and asked someone to bring up a flyer.
Sure enough the watch I wanted was going on sale! She took initiative! There may be some naysayers that say “if the company wanted the item to be on sale a couple of days before, they would have had the flyer out earlier”. However, I really was walking away from the purchase, and might have bought a watch at a different store. She really did bring the dollars back into the store.
Little BIG things don’t have to be miracles!
People don’t have to make miracle customer service decisions to be awesome. The six people that I just mentioned made fantastic choices and their actions clearly demonstrate Individual Leadership. And, this can only result in significant business outcomes.
As customers, we need to recognize those amazing people by informing their employers. And, as an employer, you need to watch for the “hidden” treasures that help keep your business alive.
And, to the many hardworking, proud, committed workers that take full ownership of their job – congrats – and keep up the good work. Those little things that you do – ARE the BIG things, and make you an employee of excellence!