Before I start - there are a few things you should know about me ... Firstly, I like coffee. Good coffee. And I will typically consume a minimum of 3 double-shot hits a day. The second thing to know is that I make it a personal challenge to 'connect' with customer service staff, particularly when I know I will see them again. So, on with my story ...
Earlier this year I attended a week-long strengths coaching training course in Sydney, delivered by the GALLUP organisation. At every break we were provided an impressive array of treats, sweets and beverages - but I will always trade that for a quick dash to the nearest coffee house for my mandatory high-octane brew. Fortunately, although we were located on the 18th floor, there was a 'hole-in-the-wall' coffee house directly across the street. This became my 'local'; game on!
On the first couple of visits I accidentally wore my name tag, boldly strung around my neck on a thick string lanyard. This name tag not only announced me not only as "Garry Davis" ... it then went on to spell out my 'Top 5 strengths':
Individualization | Analytical | Relator | Learner | Deliberative
Some might have found this a little embarrassing, but recall my second objective. I now had a way to connect. By day 3 I was laughingly known to the lady as "tag man", although I had now remembered to take off the lanyard. When she asked my name for the order, clearly feeling that she should have remembered; I asked hers. For the remainder of the week our conversation continued to build with each visit.
My final coffee visit was at the morning break on the Friday, as we were scheduled to finish our training at lunch. I walked up to the window and she asked how I was. "Sensational!” I replied. She seemed almost shocked (which of course, is always my motive for such a response).
"Why?” she asked.
"Because I choose to be", I told her.
She looked a little puzzled before responding "It's not that easy, is it?”
But my next comment really seemed to hit her. "Yes, it is - the choice is yours" I said.
I love exchanges like this. But this one was to have a powerful twist.
My change included a 50 cent piece. Here's the third thing about me - I collect special edition 50 cent pieces. Ever since I saw my first Captain Cook coin in 1970, I have been drawn to them.
Habitually, I glanced at the tail side to find that it was a 2010 Australia Day coin and realised that I had never taken notice of the inscription accompanying the unique design.
It seemed to be the perfect coincidence. I held the coin for her to see and asked her to read what it said. Her face lit up.
I completed my course and left Sydney but the experience remained in my mind for some time, prompting me to search for the coffee shop address to send her the coin but the only address I found was not convincing.
Six months later I attended another course in the same area. I made sure I took the coin and visited her. I reminded her about the exchange and she did remember; so did one of the other staff there, who had been looking on when it occurred.
Celebrate What's Great
It felt great for me to ‘close’ the story and I hope it reinforces the message for her that we can all choose where to put our attention and how things impact us.
50 cents well spent, in my opinion.