I am super-excited about going to Australia for the first time to speak at a conference next month. I’ve already started thinking about gifts I can bring back for the family. I’d really like a live kangaroo but I most likely wouldn’t get it through customs. Maybe a boomerang would be more sensible.

The unique selling point of a boomerang is that its aerodynamically designed to return to the thrower. This made me think of how we can manage ourselves to influence others on the level of customer service we provide. We can reap what we sow in our interactions with others. Only yesterday for example, my wife and I came through Salt Lake City airport and unfortunately my wife’s suitcase got pulled for a secondary inspection. Another passenger also had her bag pulled and it was interesting to observe the different level of service my wife received compared with the other passenger. Gaynor (my wife), was positive and cool about the whole process and received superb service from the TSA Agent – yes I did say “superb service” and “TSA Agent” in the same sentence. The other passenger was very negative and aggressive towards the TSA Agent and surprise surprise, that person didn’t receive the same level of service that Gaynor did.

What’s the lesson here? Rather like a boomerang, we can receive what we put out. If we want to be served well, we should positively cooperate with the person, their process and procedure (especially when its comes to airport security), to be served well. We do reap what we sow and even if we still receive poor service, we can keep our own personal constitution and peace of mind intact – which as we all know, can be a challenge especially through busy airports, and life in general.

What’s the practical application here when it comes to Customer-Centered Service? Well, as a service provider, the vibe you put out when serving your external or internal customers is going to come back at you. Great service providers go first. They lead with the heart of a servant. I have found that when you genuinely focus on being of service to others, even in pressured and tense situations you receive a much better response from the (external or internal) customer you’re trying to be of service to.

Turn the tables though if necessary – if you’re the person receiving the service (i.e you’re the person going through TSA Security), you are able to some extent, influence the quality of service you receive by the vibe you give out. Be helpful and you’ll likely be helped. Be positive and you’ll likely receive positive service. Be pleasant and you’ll likely be treated pleasantly. Notice I kept saying “likely” as people can be unpredictable but remember at a minimum, you’ll be able to keep your own personal constitution and peace of mind intact.

Just for the fun of it though, I might just try and bring a baby kangaroo home from my Australian trip and see what kind of quality of service I receive at Adelaide airport. If I get it out of Adelaide, it’ll be even more interesting to feel the love with the lovely TSA folks at Los Angeles World Airport. Hmmm…maybe just maybe, the boomerang would be a more sensible idea. I’m not as positive and cool as Gaynor is.

One of the areas Newleaf Training and Development specialize in is teaching Customer Centered Service.

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