Charles Marshall, Humorous motivational speaker - Cleaner Times

Charles Marshall, Humorous motivational speaker

Customer Service for Breakfast

Charles Marshall, Humorous motivational speaker

Editor’s Note: Charles Marshall spoke at the regional CETA and PWNA meeting held in Reno, NV, in June. He will be the keynote speaker for CETA at PowerClean 2019 in Charleston, SC, which will be held from October 17–20.

For just a moment, forget about productivity. Forget about making your company more money. Forget getting a better performance review.

To me, good customer service isn’t really about any of those things. To me, providing good customer service is about the person that I want to be.

Think about the last time you were provided extraordinary customer service. A couple of weeks ago the kids at my house woke up with IHOP on the brain, and you know how it is—when you get something on your mind, you got to have it.


To be honest, I was on the fence about the whole thing. But then my wife, who is a stay-at-home mom and an excellent salesperson (I think that anybody who can talk a kid into eating his broccoli and being happy about it should be voted salesperson of the year), closes the deal by mentioning that she has a buy-one-get-one-free coupon, and quicker than you can say “chocolate chip pancakes,” we were all piled in the car and headed to the blue-roof restaurant.

Shortly after we were seated, we were greeted by an upbeat, friendly waitress who introduced herself and took our drink order. Right about that time, my wife pipes up and tells the waitress that she has a coupon. I start to object but my wife tells me this is the proper thing to do—that you’re supposed to tell the wait staff you have a coupon before, not after, the meal. I decided not to argue the point for three reasons.

My wife is probably right.

It doesn’t matter if she’s right or not, I’ve been married long enough to know to choose my battles carefully, and this is not the hill I want to die on.

She’s going to do it anyway, whether I want her to or not.

So, while she’s triumphantly displaying her coupon to the waitress, the waitress does a remarkable thing. She notices another coupon in my wife’s hand and tells us we can use BOTH coupons at the same time.

What? This is unheard of! A waitress taking the time and trouble to save me money? I’ve had waiters by the scores try to up-sell me. I’ve had waitresses by the dozens ignore me. But I honestly can’t remember any wait staff ever making any effort to watch out for my interests.

As a direct result of this young lady’s behavior, we did several things. We gave her a great tip. By the way, you should always tip on the pre-discounted amount. Why should the wait staff be penalized just because you got a discount, right?

We returned to IHOP a couple weeks later because our previous trip had been so positive. We remembered that waitress and looked for her the next time we went.

To me, all other things being equal, this particular IHOP experience was enjoyable because of our interaction with that waitress. We felt she was truly taking care of us, and you know what? We really like that feeling. Who doesn’t?

But you’ll notice that IHOP is just the setting for my story. The real hero in my tale is the waitress. It was the person that made the difference.

That’s the kind of person that I want to be in my business dealings—the kind of person that people can trust to take care of them, that customers seek out because they know they’ll be treated right. The sort of person that people remember long afterward. In short, the hero of the story.

Isn’t that what we all want? Do you aspire to be an “extra” in somebody else’s life, or do you want to be considered a “star”? Will you be one more face in someone else’s life, or the “somebody” that they look up to, respect, and talk about because you came to the rescue?

What if you start thinking about the act of providing exceptional customer service less as something somebody else wants you to do, and more as the type of person that you want to be? How do you think that would impact your life? How do you think it would affect the respect that your co-workers give you? Your income? Your career?

I believe you can choose to be whatever type of person you would like to be. I believe that if you choose to be a top-notch customer-service type of person, then all the rest—the business growth, the money, the respect, the success—will soon follow.

© 2018 Charles Marshall. Charles Marshall is a nationally known humorous motivational speaker and author. Visit his Web site www.CharlesMarshallSpeaker.com  or contact him via e-mail at Charles@CharlesMarshallSpeaker.com.