Customer Service that Touches the Heart!

Yesterday, I took Philippines Airlines for the first time for a business trip to Manila from Singapore. What I saw touched my heart, and made me realize what customer service really is.

A baby was crying almost for an hour, and i could see the mother trying her best to calm the child down, to no avail. She looked frustrated and stressed, embarrassed. After serving the meals, an air stewardess  approached the mother and asked to hold the child. She soothed the child, patting him on his back and calmed him down. It took quite a long time, and the baby fell asleep, and she returned him to a grateful and relieved mother.

I was observing the entire episode because I had requested for a drink from the same air stewardess. When I asked her again, she apologized and quickly got it. But I did not blame her; instead, I was impressed with the service from the heart. The care she gave to a fussing child and the relief to the mother was heartfelt and genuine. I gladly waited for her to ease the child before asking for my drink again.

I have taken airlines that won multiple awards for service, but I have seen none like that – service from the heart. You can win awards for excellent service by training your staff, establishing service protocols etc etc and have excellent service from robotic airline staff. The danger of ‘over-proceduring’ service can get the job done efficiently but it does not touch the heart.

As I stepped off the plane, I could not help but wonder, how do we reproduce customer service like that?

Some key questions to ponder in the quest to find the answer:

1. Does your company have a great culture?

2. Does your company have the right values?

3. Does your company have the right people – not just the competent ones, not just those who care about what they do, but those who care for others?

4. Does your organisation know, or care, or even realizes that your customers are human beings with needs, fears and wants?

Philippines Airlines, kudos to you!

I will take this airline again.

Differentiate Your Business by Saying a BIG Thank You!

This is one youtube video that blew my mind! The sheer audacity of this bank’s move is sure to make them a business to remember forever.

TD Bank in Canada launched a campaign to thank its customers by giving them money, (yes, in the form of $20 handouts), favourite t-shirts, air tickets and even a college fund!

Watch the video here: 

WHY???

Are they crazy? Are they too rich?

I don’t think so. In business terms, it is a differentiating move. In Gazelles International coaching terms, it is a Winning Move. What are Winning Moves?

They are things that your competitor would never do, but your customer will love you to death for it. It is also something that deals with what your customer hates, turning it into something they did not expect but totally love. Beneath the gimicky moves of handing out money and gifts, what really happened is a bank that says, “Hey, you are not a digit for me to squeeze money from. You are more important than me and I recognize that. Your needs are important to me, and I stand with you.” i love the part where the lady gets to go see her daughter (spoiler alert).

It connects on a very human level of wanting to be appreciated and treated like a…human being. Everyone who has been to a bank, and who has been following the news over the last 6-7 years knows how banks really view their customers – like cows to be milked.

So gimicky or not, marketing ploy or not, what matters is it connects. It differentiates TD bank from its competitors by doing something their competitors hate to do. Banks take money; they don’t give money.

A nice winning move – heartwarming too. And millions of views as the video went viral.

Good strategy differentiates businesses. Do you have a Winning Move up your sleeve? Remember, it must be something your customer really wants but your competitor hates to do. Winning Moves are dangerous, but they will make your business GREAT.