Everyone needs to be inspired at work. It is that spark that ignites a fire within us, that reminder to us all that we are not just another cog in the wheel. That what we do matters.
As HR, it might be a good idea to make the effort to motivate and inspire employees who may be feeling disheartened about the massive workload, or the tight deadlines. One way to do so is to share stories on how their products and services have actually made someone’s day.
Adapted from American Express’s Open Forum, the following are some tales of ordinary workers who made a difference:
1. Trader Joe’s braves a winter storm for an elderly customer
An 89-year old man in the US was snowed in around the holidays, and his daughter was concerned he wasn’t going to have enough food to last the duration of bad weather. The daughter called multiple stores trying to find someone who would deliver, and finally learned that grocery store Trader Joe’s doesn’t normally deliver, but it would in this special instance. It took the order, and also suggested other items that might fit the elderly man’s special low-sodium diet.
After the daughter ordered around US$50 worth of food to be delivered, the Trader Joe’s employee told her that she didn’t need to pay for it, and to have a Merry Christmas.
The food was delivered within 30 minutes of the phone call, and the elderly man and his family got to enjoy the spirit of the season.
2. Free tickets from the Jet Blue People Officer
If you fly budget airline Jet Blue, you might just run into the mystical People Officer. One such passenger reported of the People Officer standing up mid-flight announcing that he had free tickets to give away to anywhere that the airline company flew. The man played trivia games, and handed out tickets to anyone who knew the answers. In all, around a dozen free tickets were handed out during the mid-flight games.
The Jet Blue employee then went on to ask if anyone had any suggestions or concerns with Jet Blue, and answered questions about upcoming possible promotions. Such an initiative not only provided Jet Blue customers a great flight experience, but helped improve the branding of the company as well.
3. United Airlines saves your seat, books a flight
New York Times best-selling author Steven Levitt wrote an article about how United Airlines turned him into a loyal customer in a couple ways. Levitt was running late, and unlike other airlines, they actually saved his seat until the last second. On another occasion, United Airlines called him and informed him that his flight was delayed by a few hours, and they saw that he was in the airport. The call went like this:
“I see that you’re at the airport and your flight is delayed a few hours. A seat opened up on an earlier flight, so I grabbed it for you in case you wanted it. It leaves in 40 minutes, so you’ll have to hurry.”
These two events turned him into a life-long customer of United Airlines, said Levitt.
4. Ritz-Carlton goes above and beyond
You’d expect a luxury hotel to have excellent customer service, but this particular story from Business Week goes well above the expected.
“One family staying at the Ritz-Carlton, Bali, had carried specialised eggs and milk for their son who suffered from food allergies. Upon arrival, they saw that the eggs had broken and the milk had soured. The Ritz-Carlton manager and dining staff searched the town but could not find the appropriate items. But the executive chef at this particular resort remembered a store in Singapore that sold them. He contacted his mother-in-law, and asked that she buy the products and fly to Bali to deliver them, which she agreed to do.”
5. Pearl, the pompom-waving Arby’s employee
Pearl Weaver is an 89-year old Arby’s employee from Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. Her job? To make people smile.
When any customer comes to the counter to order food, Weaaver greets them with a pleasant “Hi everybody, welcome to Arby’s!” and waves her blue and white pompom. She’s mentioned weekly in customer satisfaction surveys, calls to Arby’s corporate offices, and she’s won award after award for her customer service.
She made a difference for her customers who probably head there more often to experience her infectious enthusiasm.