Even valet parking attendants save lives.
While providing customer service training to the support staff at a large hospital, I noticed a valet who went out of his way to smile, greet, and hold doors open for every person he saw. Through spring storms and triple digit heatwaves, he was always kind and attentive. Realizing that he was the epitome of exceptional customer service, I decided to interview him about it.
This is what he told me:
I was having this awful week once. I was tired of my job, feeling like a failure in general, and dead on my feet. But I needed the paycheck, so I worked anyway. That busy Friday was the worst. We were slammed. Everyone I saw was agitated with the parking situation and looking to take it out on me. I don’t know how or why but I noticed this older woman leaving the hospital just looked completely empty and shaken, so I decided to just try to engage her. See if I could get her to smile back at me. I didn’t think I was very successful at it, but three weeks later my supervisor handed me a letter from her at the start of my shift. After I read that, well, I was just so happy and proud.
He was so happy and proud of that letter that he still had it with him. He pulled the rumpled and carefully folded sheet out of his shirt pocket to show me. This is what the letter said:
That Friday you spoke to me, my husband of 40 years died and I didn’t see any reason to go on living without him. I was determined to go home and quietly end my own life, before you kindly greeted me. You took the time to talk to me, even though you were beyond busy, and it made me feel human again. You helped me realize that other people still needed me in this world. THANK YOU for saving my life. Please don’t stop smiling. I am sure that other patients and their families need you too.
The moral of this story is that employees need insight into their worth. They must be able to see the meaningfulness of their work in order for their work to become a calling and for superior customer service to become a given. If you would like help engaging your employees and super-charging your customer service to save lives, please contact us.