Hit Your Creativity Button To Delight Customers

During a recent short out- of- town adventure, my leadership antennae went into high gear. Going into any new local, I am usually very excited and pumped to learn and recharge my batteries. It is a great opportunity to take time to just think and dream and plan. This particular trip involved heavy rains, flooding and thunderstorms. They were relentless and I was at a “beachy” resort. To add to the frustration, nobody at the resort seemed particularly caring or concerned with the needs of their visitors. Except for one amazing maintenance man. A true leader.

 When we initially arrived the conversation with an employee at the front desk sounded like this:

“Welcome. Here is your information about the facility. Your room will be ready in a few hours. Have a nice evening.”

I responded:

“Is it possible to make it a little warmer in the lobby?” My toes were turning blue at that point.

To which they responded: “We keep the thermostat at the same temperature all the time.” No further explanation or words of support.

After shivering for a while in the main area, a maintenance man approached us and asked us what was wrong. We explained the situation to him and he said with a smirk: “Follow me”.

He guided us through a maze and down an elevator and through a large ballroom and finally to an outdoor sitting area that had a roof to protect us from the torrential rains. It was warm outside and we were thrilled.

With gratitude we exclaimed: “Thank you so much. We so appreciate your help! We will be fine here.”

Wow! With a little creativity and great deal of kindness we felt cared for.

Do you care for the people you see each day in your workplace? Do you delight your customers so they feel appreciated?

Here are four ways for leaders to hit their creativity button to show others they matter:

1. PUT YOURSELF IN THEIR SPOT

No one at the front desk had any desire to see how we were feeling. They were fixated in carrying out rules and disseminating information without viewing the situation from our perspective. There was no emotion. They were robotic. The maintenance man cared about us.

In our workplaces it may be easier to just spew out words about what needs to be done or deadlines to meet, but consider how we may come across. If someone on our team brings up a challenge, lead by acknowledging their concerns. Tell them you hear their frustration and will address it. If a customer feels slighted or upset, open your mind to making things better. Lead with kindness.

2. BRAINSTORM POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS

Even if we don’t have a perfect resolution to a co-worker’s struggle or a customer’s dilemma, take the time to think creatively. Ask yourself:

  • What might work here?
  • How can I alleviate their challenge?
  • Is there a small step I can take to help minimize the situation?
  • Who else may be able to help resolve the problem?

3. GUIDE YOUR TEAM MEMBERS AND CUSTOMERS WITH CARE

However you decide to lead, make sure to be aware of the other person’s concerns. Ask questions if you are uncertain of the frustration. The maintenance man knew we just needed to be in a warmer temperature even if he couldn’t stop the rain. He guided us with a smile and warmth. It might not have been the most divine location, but we felt valued.

4. HELP CREATE A CULTURE OF CREATIVE THINKING

Model the way for everyone else on your team to delight your customers and one another. Leaders are able to influence others to be cognizant of the needs of team members and customers. When we are creative and show kindness, we develop stronger work relationships and loyal customers.

How have you hit your creativity button to delight colleagues and customers?

6 thoughts on “Hit Your Creativity Button To Delight Customers

  1. I like the question “Is there a small step I can take to minimize the situation?” So often, we think that the only solution worth putting into motion fixes everything in one swoop. Even an incremental improvement makes a difference – it shows we care and their issues do matter. Sound like the people at the front desk of your hotel should read your post!

    Hope the rest of the trip was great!

    Alli

  2. I agree Alli that often we think “so big” in finding solutions that we get tripped up on not taking any action. The people at the front desk were not able to budge in offering any possible action and as a result frustrated us even more. On the other hand, the amazing maintenance man was open and not worried that his solution wasn’t huge of perfect. But it meant the world to us.

    In our organizations, we need to lead with open perspectives and movement forward. Sometimes co-workers just want us to listen or take kind actions.

    Thanks Alli for adding your wonderful comments!

  3. Great story Terri!

    What a great reminder that understanding, vision and a desire to serve can exist anywhere in an organization. It is so simple to make someone’s day and to feel great joy about making a difference!

  4. Thanks Chery! Knowing what our vision is and what we stand for can be a great compass for providing top-notch customer service. If we stick to our core values in how we want to serve others, we can be strong customer service leaders.

    Thanks again!

  5. Talk about the trip to hell and back 🙁 It’s interesting how just a few simple gestures by the maintenance man made you feel both heard and cared for. As you mentioned, he couldn’t make the rain go away but he could make you safe and comfortable in the middle of it. This is such great leadership advice…by taking a few moments to really listen to what the other person is saying can mean so much! Often, it can be enough to change our attitude and totally minimize the situation. Love this and will be sharing….

  6. This was a crazy trip but as always I grow and learn from each adventure.

    Listening to the people with work with and customers we serve, can give leaders great insights into how we can be more helpful. There often is no perfect solution, but taking small steps to resolve a frustration can go a long way.

    People just want to feel you care.

    Thanks LaRae for your excellent insights and additions!

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