Find and Do Your Own Thing

Ron Kaufman

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In quality manufacturing, speed requires standardization. No wonder Six Sigma, Zero Defects and ISO Certification receive so much time and attention.

But in quality service, doing something unusual or eccentric can create a powerful impact. In service, it can be quite acceptable to find and do your own thing.

Here are just a few examples:

A waiter at the Sugar Beach Resort in Mauritius comes to work each day with a thermometer in his pocket. On the way to the restaurant he takes the temperature of the ocean water and the swimming pool. As he pours coffee and clears plates during breakfast, he joyfully tells guests exactly how warm and enjoyable their swimming will be that day.

A room service attendant at the same resort noticed a guest from Germany reading Goethe during her stay. He got coaching from a colleague and learned a poem in German by heart. A few days later as he served her dinner in her room, he recited the poem proudly for her enjoyment.

A sales clerk at Nordstrom in the United States sold my friend a new pair of shoes. Measuring his feet, the clerk discovered my friend’s right foot was size 9.5 and the left foot was a smaller 9.0. The clerk gave my friend the shoes he needed to achieve a perfect fit: one 9.5 and the other 9.0. I have no idea what the clerk did with the remaining mismatched shoes, but my friend’s loyalty to Nordstrom has been secured.

The customer of a furniture maker in Malaysia returned one large item and selected another. A partial refund was due, but the customer was to leave the country that very night. One staff member offered to process the refund paperwork on the same day. At 8:15 pm he arrived at the customer’s house with the refund check in hand. . . and a small cake with ‘Bon Voyage!’ written across the top.

At the Raffles Hotel, one laundry worker writes small notes complimenting male guests on the fine fabric of their suits and female guests on the elegance of their evening gowns. These notes are pinned gently to the garments before they are hung back in guests’ closets after drycleaning. What a memorable moment!

At the Four Seasons Hotel, order a juice or soft drink from the bar. You’ll discover ice cubes made from the same drink. As the ice melts your drink gets colder, but not diluted. You get a stronger drink. Strong service, too.

Key Learning Point
What is ‘your thing’? Is it the personal note you attach to outgoing documents? Is it the enthusiastic tone in your voice on the phone? Is it your pride in teaching customers or colleagues something new? Is it as simple as the colorful clothes you wear, the magazine and newspaper articles you share with others, or your passion for indoor plants that makes the whole office come alive?

Action Steps
Whatever it is that turns you on, find and do your own thing. Then take it one step further. Turn ‘your thing’ into something special – to the advantage and enjoyment of others.

Ron Kaufman is an internationally acclaimed educator and motivator for partnerships and quality customer service. He is author of the bestselling “UP Your Service!" and founder of “UP Your Service College". Visit for more such Customer Service articles, subscribe to his Newsletter, or to buy his bestselling Books, Videos, Audio CDs on Customer Service from his secure Online Store . You can also watch Ron live or listen to him at .


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