Let’s be GREAT out there!

“People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed.” Samuel Johnson.

In the 1980s TV police drama series, Sgt. Phil Esterhaus, portrayed by Michael Conrad, cautioned his officers at the end of roll call with “Let’s be careful out there”. 

When I was GM at The Henry Dearborn-Autograph Collection, Dearborn, MI, one of our senior sales managers ended their daily morning stand-up meeting with “Let’s be safe out there”. But I told them we should change it to “Let’s be GREAT out there!”. And in each hoteI since then, I reminded every team to end their daily standups with it. 

As customer service professionals, we are all onstage with customers, happy to serve. There are some who say that they believe they are “acting”. They claim they can never “be the part” to be happy to serve. Here is what I say:

Any movie or theatrical audience has customers. “Customers perceive service in their own unique, idiosyncratic, emotional, irrational, end-of-the-day, and totally human terms. Perception is all there is!” Tom Peters. Customers are paying for their experience. It’s ALL about them, NEVER about us. To them, perception is reality. Image is everything. Feelings are facts. And they buy with emotion and justify that decision with reason.

Movie actors like Scarlett Johansson, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, and Jack Nicholson act to be happy, sad, scary, or angry. Yet, we, as the audience, believe they are genuinely real. The actors may “act their part”, but they are so good that we, as the audience, BELIEVE they are real. Whether actors are acting the part or believe they are real is not important. It is never about the actors. It is always about the audience. The audience is paying for their experience. And the audience seeks the best value in their experience. So actors have to deliver.

The best TV and movie actors have rehearsed before they are watched by their audience. Even theatrical actors rehearse before a live audience. We, as customer service professionals, whether new or experienced, can train and rehearse before we connect with our customers, our live audience. But, more often, we are interacting as we go. So we need to be better than actors who rehearse. We need to be so good that our customers believe we really ARE happy to serve. So we have to deliver.

As customer service professionals, we are happy to serve our customers so much that they believe we are genuinely happy to serve. It doesn’t matter if we act it or not. What matters is if our customers BELIEVE we are genuine. When it comes to customers and customer service, it’s NEVER about us. It’s ALWAYS about them. So be onstage with your audience of customers. And be GREAT out there!

When we are not together, that’s when I say, “Be GREAT out there!” I hope you have an educational legacy for everyone who interacts with customers. So, I encourage you to remind them when you say,

Let’s Be GREAT out there!


Filed under Customer Service

2 responses to “Let’s be GREAT out there!

  1. I appreciate you acknowledging my blog post. And I appreciate you. “People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed.” Samuel Johnson. So when you prepare your team to interact with customers, I encourage you to say to them, “Let’s be GREAT out there!”

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