Tweet 100 in my career advice book Success Tweets says “Care about what you do. If you care a little, you’ll be an OK performer. If you care a lot, you’ll become an outstanding performer.” Last week I met a young woman who embodies this career success advice.
Miriam Chisala works at the front desk of the Hampton Inn on West 31st Street in New York City. I was a guest there. One day, I had a minor crisis. I lost the button on my trousers. I went to the front desk and asked if I they could direct me to a local dry cleaner or tailor shop. When Miriam asked why, I told her that I needed a button replaced on my trousers. She said, “I can sew, bring them to me.” I did, and she sewed the button.
I thought that was pretty good service. I never would have expected that a hotel employee would go out of her way to help me with a sewing problem. The next morning, it was pouring rain. As I was leaving the hotel, I asked to borrow an umbrella. Miriam’s colleague told me that they had already lent all of the umbrellas they had. She said, “You can use mine – as long as you bring it back. I’ll need it to go home.”
Both of Miriam’s acts were small kindnesses, but ones that I really appreciated. She went out of her way to help me. This goes way beyond good customer service. Miriam Chisala cares about what she does. This makes her an outstanding performer – and puts her on the road to the life and career success she deserves.
I have a model of customer service that I use with my consulting clients. It begins from the premise that after any interaction your customers R.A.T.E. you. The people in your life R.A.T.E. you too. You can use your R.A.T.E.ing to enhance your career success. It works like this:
- R stands for Responsiveness.
- A stands for Assurance.
- T stands for Tangibles.
- E stands for Empathy.
If you notice, only one of the four points in the model – tangibles – is what you actually do for, or deliver to, the people in your life. The other three are the emotional measures by which people judge you. These emotional measures are at least as important as the tangibles you deliver.
You have to deliver the tangibles. You must produce results. That’s the cost of a ticket to the professional success sweepstakes.
However, you have to pay attention to the other three factors – responsiveness, assurance, and empathy – if you’re going to make a positive personal impact while you’re performing. Let’s look at each of these three in detail.
Responsiveness. You have to ensure that the people in your life see you as someone who is willing to help, someone who understands what needs to be done and is willing to do it. Other people need to think that you will give them what they want, when they want it, and in a manner that they can use it.
Assurance. You have to be able to convey trust and confidence. People need to feel that you are going to deliver. To do this, you must be very knowledgeable about the people in your life and their needs and wants. You need to be clear on what you can offer them to help them meet their goals. You need to ensure that they are confident that you will do what you say you will do.
Empathy. The people in your life must perceive you as an individual who understands, cares about, and pays attention to their needs. To do this, you need to be willing to walk a mile in other people’s shoes. You have to demonstrate to them that you are aware of and sensitive to their unique and individual needs.
Back to Miriam. She definitely delivered the tangibles. She sewed a button for me and she lent me her umbrella. More important, she excelled on the three emotional factors – Responsiveness, Assurance and Empathy.
Miriam demonstrated her responsiveness by realizing that I had problems she could solve. I needed a button and I needed an umbrella. She could have directed me to the closest tailor and store where I could buy and umbrella. Instead she offered to sew the button and lent me her umbrella. That’s being responsive to a customer’s needs.
Miriam put my mind at ease about my button problem. She said, “I can sew. It will only take me a minute. Just bring me the pants and the button.” That was a huge relief for me. I wanted to wear the trousers that evening. Her offer meant that I didn’t have to worry about finding a tailor. I felt assured that my problem was solved.
Finally, Miriam demonstrated her empathy in both cases. First, she realized I was a stranger in her city with a button problem. While a missing button is not a big deal, having to find someone to do the repair when you don’t know your away around the neighborhood is no fun. Second, she knew that I could buy an umbrella on the street corner – vendors magically appear when it rains in New York. But that was also a small headache for me, so she lent me hers.
All in all, I R.A.T.E. Miriam – and the Hampton Inn on West 31st Street in Manhattan — very high. Miriam is a young a woman who cared enough about her job and customers that she went out of her way to help me, not once but twice in a two day period. In some ways this is not surprising as I found the entire property to be well run.
If you want to create the life and career success you deserve, be like Miriam. Show that you care about what you do by doing the little things that set you apart from others.
The career success coach point here is simple common sense. If you want to create you career success, you have to be seen by others as a person who cares. You need to be responsive to the needs and requests of others. You have to gain the trust of people with whom you come into contact. And you need to demonstrate that you understand their needs and issues. Miriam Chisala, by her actions, provides a great example of someone who is responsive, someone who is trustworthy, and someone with loads of empathy. Be like Miriam and you’ll be on your way to the life and career success you want and deserve.
That’s my career advice based on my experience with Miriam Chisala last week. What do you think? Plesae share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment. Better yet, please share a story about someone you R.A.T.E. highly. As always, thanks for reading my daily musings on life and career success.
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