What kind of house did the third little pig build? What did Sleeping Beauty eat that caused her to go to sleep? What did Hansel and Gretel do to make sure they could find their way home out of the woods? I bet you know the answer to these three questions.*
Stories you heard at the age of 2, 3, or 4 years old, yet more than likely you still remember them and the point to the story. People will remember stories far longer than they will facts and data.
The same principle applies with customer service. It will be far more memorable to create a story that tells employees through its content the kind of actions that exhibit excellent service vs. telling them to just be nice and smile at customers.
A story has a beginning, middle and end. It doesn’t have to be long. Here is an example:
There once was a housekeeper at Disneyworld who wanted to do more than just delight her guests with a clean room. She noticed many purchased plush animals during their visits and would leave them lying around on the floor or chairs in the hotel rooms. One day, after vacuuming, changing the beds and cleaning the bathrooms, she picked up the plush animals in one of the guest rooms and sat them in the dinette chairs as if they were about to eat dinner. She left a little note on the table “we were waiting for you – hope you had a fun day in the Park”. The next day in the same room, she tucked the little plush animals in the newly made up bed and gave the Mickey doll the remote control. Every day she tried to find creative ways to make the plush animals look like they were having a good time while the family was out having a good time too.
After their return home from vacation, the family wrote a letter to the CEO, Michael Eisner, that they had as much fun coming home to see what the housekeeper had done with the plush animals, as they did in the Park. The End.
What does this story tell you? Look for ways to delight your guests, be creative and innovative, do more than just “your job”. Once stories like this are shared among employees, then ideas will start to abound as to what are other ways to deliver excellent service. Find a way to gather for storytelling once a month or once a quarter. Post the stories in a centralized location for all to see. Make it fun.
*Third little pig build a house made of bricks, Sleeping Beauty ate an apple that caused her to fall into a deep sleep, and Hansel left a trail of white pebbles.