Ask the customer first

Traveling is such a wonderful way to get a fresh new look at work! Just fresh back from two weeks off, I could not help but notice, while traveling what efforts worked to satisfy me, and what efforts were well intended, but wasted. The key, for the most part, was asking me if I wanted something first. Then delivering.

On Delta (economy class-argh!) and the flight attendant was giving our pretzels. I asked for peanuts! his reply, “Lady, I am giving out pretzels.” End of story. Positive note? The flight attendant on the other end of the cart, retrieved peanuts, and blessed me with them.
That small gesture took the bad taste out of my mouth, and made me smile. Simple gesture, but she met my need, and I felt like I was in first class. Well, almost.

Checking into our hotel in Athens, Greece, we were met with literally throngs of demonstrators outside the hotel in front of parliament. Not a fun sight, nor was it especially settling, since we did not know if the action would escalate or not. The manager was at the front desk, and, when we checked in, obviously unsettled by the commotion, she said, “Oh, it is your anniversary! Why don’t we give you a nice surprise today for your celebration?” And, she proceeded to give us a suite. And what a suite it was, and with a perfect view of the demonstrations! Also, however, with a perfect view of the Acropolis. So, she turned what would have been a huge disappointment into something that is memorable. Get a first hand visual below.

So whether you are selling services or products, when a customer asks you to do something, try and find out what it is you CAN do for that customer. Keeping customers happy is really just one at a time.