It’s Always the Small Things that Matter Most

people in office

As I sat at the WaWa gas pump waiting for the attendant, I began to furiously type on my iPhone, which I call my “morning, digital routine”—Facebook, Twitter, Email, Instagram, Foursquare.

The attendant tapped on the window and when I looked up he gave me a big smile.

“Good morning! What can I do for you on this Monday morning?” he said, his name tag “Michael, Fuel Manager” neatly pinned to his shirt.

I shoved my credit card through the window and said, “fill it Regular, please,” and then went back to refreshing my Instagram feed.

A few minutes later, he came back with a squeegee and started to clean all my windows.

“Couldn’t let you leave here with a dirty window! We’ll get you fixed in no time!” he said through yet another big grin.

I gave a small smile, but then my phone buzzed and I went back to looking at my email. When the pump made a click that it was done filling up my tank, he handed me my receipt through the window, but hung on to it for a second longer before I could grab it out of his hands.

“Drive safely, miss, it’s a crazy Monday morning out there so take care of yourself,” and then he gave another smile and walked away.

I sat there for a minute and wondered if I ever had any gas attendant tell me to drive safely. After a few seconds of thinking about how nice the Michael was and how it took just three small interactions to completely change my entire experience at the WaWa. Now I know that most states don’t have gas attendants like we do in New Jersey, but even so normally you don’t exactly except superior customer service.

The whole experience reminded me of a few days earlier when I challenged myself to making more of an effort to have small, yet meaningful, interactions with our own PCG staff. Saying “good morning” instead of rushing to my office, eating lunch with my team and not at my desk, and stopping to ask how everyone’s weekend was or if they’re finally getting over that cold.

It’s going to be a daily challenge, but one of unmeasureable value that Michael reminded me that Monday morning.

When it comes to your interaction with your customers or your staff, what kind of small, meaningful moments are turning your business from good to great?

Great service starts from within

As business professionals, we always want to learn how we can better serve our customers, but the better you serve your staff the more likely that your great service will trickle down.

At a recent leadership retreat, I was introduced to “The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership” that you can learn more about at The practices were:

  • Model the way.

  • Inspire a shared vision.

  • Challenge the process.

  • Enable others to act.

The attendees were required to take the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) to assess our strengths and weaknesses for these practices. For myself, one of my areas that I needed to improve upon was “enabling others to act.” It struck me as odd, because I felt that I always made my team very independent and our whole model was about working together, but what I failed to achieve was actively involving every individual to their full potential.

My trainer explained that “enabling others to act” was hand in hand with “encouraging the heart.” How can employees feel powerful to act if they’re not confident? How will an employee trust their team mates if they haven’t been rewarded by their efforts?

A lot of what I had failed to do was to serve my employees outside of our meetings, I failed to have those small, meaningful interactions with them that could build their confidence and thus empower them daily. I had failed to give them the small, yet much needed daily human recognition that Michael had given me at WaWa.

If you identify that there is a disconnect in your team, then I can guarantee that has trickled down to your customer service. To turn your business from good to great, start working on how you can better build your team from within and then the rest should fall into place.

Christine Rochelle is the vice president of operations for PCG Digital Marketing.

Michael Bowen


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