Make your life worth living as your living is being made
By Catherine DeVrye
Think of people who, through their work, have made a difference to your
life. It could have been an encouraging teacher, a boss who believed in
you or a colleague who willingly helped on a project outside their job
It might have been an insurance agent who calls a lonely widow just to
say hello; a cell phone dealer who loans his own phone to a tradesman; or
a pharmacist who delivers a prescription to a sick pensioner after hours.
In each of these true examples, repeat business flowed to those who did
that little bit extra. By helping others, we help ourselves.
When I started speaking professionally, I believed I could make money
and make a difference. However, like most burgeoning business owners, I
was occasionally plagued with doubt. Once was after a long flight, when I
arrived with no voice, to address 400 realtors the next morning. (an
occupational hazard indeed!)
At hotel check-in, the receptionist started her standard greeting,
outlining the magnificent facilities but I cut her short with a whisper,
to say that I simply wanted to get to my room immediately. I promptly
unpacked, showered and curled up in bed, feeling somewhat sorry for myself
away from home, when I heard an unexpected knock at the door.
I croakily informed him that I hadn't ordered room service.
"Yes, Ms DeVrye, we know you haven't ordered room service but we
also know you're not feeling well, so have brought some hot lemon and
honey with our compliments."
Sure enough, on a silver tray, was exactly what I would have wanted if
I'd been home. In addition, there was a hand written note from the chef
offering to make chicken soup and another note from the concierge, with
some vitamin C tablets and an offer to obtain any additional medication
from the drugstore in town.
As someone who spends over 80 nights per year in 5 star hotels, I know
that sort of service isn't standard, nor in anyone's job description. The
receptionist put herself in my shoes and coordinated others to deliver
outstanding service. I felt better already and naturally, any traveller
would remember that experience long after they'd forgotten the marble in
My voice marginally restored the next day, I addressed the realtors and
used this real time example of going that extra mile to truly care about
the customer. I'd arranged for the receptionist to attend the presentation
and later at check-out, she said she felt somewhat stunned by the
spontaneous applause from the audience.
"Just to know that you felt better, made me feel better about my
day. I didn't expect any thanks." By doing that little extra, she
gained extra satisfaction for herself.
I'm pleased to report that the real estate company adopted "Hot
Lemon & Honey' service as their annual theme, achieving record profits
that year. Subsequently, 'Hot Lemon & Honey…Reflections For
Success in Times of Change' became the title for my new book,
which I'm honoured to have endorsed by Sir Edmund Hillary, and Jack
Canfield, the author of 'Chicken Soup for the Soul'.
Remember this receptionist, and all the other folks mentioned in this
article, when you get up and head off to work each day. Will someone so
fondly recall you for making a difference? Because, in spite of the
frustration we all experience in our daily tasks, isn't it reassuring to
remember that we too truly can:
'Make our life worth living as our living is being made.'
About the author: Catherine DeVrye is the author
of the #1 best seller 'Good Service is Good Business' and the newly
released inspirational gift book 'Hope Happens!…words of encouragement
for tough times'. Winner of the Australian Executive Woman of the Year
Award, she speaks internationally on managing change, customer service and
turning obstacles to opportunities. www.hopehappensnow.com
Phone: 61-2-9977-3177. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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