Confessions of a Closet Introvert – the ugly reality of selfless service

Most people would bet money that I’m an extrovert; especially those who met me when we ran our Boutique Hotel.

Sure, I talked to people all the time. But I rarely talked about myself. I was the ‘Master Avoider’ of personal questions.

Yes, I always greeted our guests with a smile and friendly hello. Always asked them questions, noticed them, gave a compliment, and worked to help them feel spoiled.

Also, I was often exhausted because I am SUCH a light sleeper. If I moved in the night and was breathing on my own arm, I’d wake up. THAT light of a sleeper. Thank the Lord my hubs doesn’t snore or move much in the night. . .

My sleep deprivation, headache, etc. didn’t matter because coffee was to be ready by 8:06 a.m. There were guests to be greeted. Greeted with a smile and a warm “Good Morning”.

  • Headache? One so bad that it feels like the back of my brain was bruised? Neither guests nor employees should know.
  • Tired? Big bags under the eyes? Apply some concealer and don my glasses.
  • Haven’t had a vacation in three, four, five, years? Too bad.
  • Sick family? Guests should never know.
  • Up at 4:00 a.m. for the last seven days with back and joint pain? No one’s business. Suck it up baby.
  • Guest have an abrasive personality? Employ those manners. Feed him some breakfast so he cannot talk…

 Is it beginning to sound like I was a tired, grouchy hag that didn’t love the business I was developing? Well, frankly, yes. Sometimes that was true. When you’re tired, employees are sick, the weather has kept travelers at home, your family is ill, there are growth money stresses, and you’ve not seen your husband for a week, yes, staying motivated to be “up”, put on a smile, and run a business could be difficult. That’s reality.

Thankfully these times were the minority. I truly LOVED developing, growing, and running our business. Guests were SO interesting. I adored my staff. Growing, learning, teaching, developing, – all things that stoke my fire.

Developing and running a business is super exciting but it’s not all rainbows and unicorns. Excuses and self-pity do not grow a business, or a develop a person. This is a little bit of a peek into the hard part of our business. The part I didn’t really much talk about.

People often wax effusive and tell me how they’d LOVE to run a bed and breakfast. Just. Like. Ours. It was their dream.

It’s a compliment. What they love is how they were being treated; how they felt pampered and important. Mission Accomplished! Everyone deserves to feel this way.

Providing this experience for people, consistently, over and over, even when you just want to space out and read a book in the sunshine all day, is the challenge.

It’s great that people don’t notice the ‘hard stuff’.

What separates those who provide an excellent experience and those who just go through the motions, is knowing what to do when the going gets tough. And it will get tough. It’s called LIFE.

There has to be a realization that “it’s not about me”. Ever. Never.

It’s ALWAYS about the customer.

  • Questioning
  • Serving
  • Pampering

Providing an excellent Customer Experience is a performance. It’s ‘putting on the show’ day after day, night after night, regardless of your personal feelings or situation at that moment.

It’s about fulfilling the marketing promise your business has made to its customers.

It’s about creating an Experience for your customer.

Both books, If Disney Ran Your Hospital, and also Steal the Show, give marvelous examples of changing the mindset for providing excellence in Customer Experience.

Kudos to the boss.

Kudos to the employees.

Kudos to the boss who equips and trains employees that it’s not about them.

It truly is not about us.

Customer Service, providing your customer or client with an excellent Customer Experience, is a selfless act of service, over and over, again and again.

Kudos to those of you who ‘get it’ and make the hard decisions to be kind, to ask questions, to be interested in others even when you don’t feel like it. It’s difficult!

Please treat yourself to something just for you this week. I recognize your behind-the-scenes selfless acts that translate into wonderful Customer Experiences and growth for your company. Thanks for making your customer, even if just a brief interaction, your #1 priority.

You’re making a giant difference in someone’s day, simply by being selfless, kind, and attentive.

Lord knows. We need more of your kind right now. Keep up the good work.

 “. . . people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou

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Grow your business through creating excellent Customer Experiences!

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