When were you last Calvinized?


On a recent trip to see one of my incredible clients in San Antonio I had an experience that will forever be recorded in my "archives" under the category "exceptional customer service experiences." When I travel, I prefer arriving early at my final destination. For this particular trip I arrived at long-term parking at 5AM, leaving plenty of time before my approximate 7AM departure.

Preflight Airport Parking is my lot of choice. And in this particular instance I was greeted by a Preflight employee named Calvin. I had never met Calvin before. Calvin drove one of Preflight's shuttle buses on the overnight shift (11PM-7AM). I had no idea what I was about to experience.

Stepping into Calvin's "world" he immediately introduced himself, provided a hardy handshake, plus a generous smile even larger than I thought possible. He whisked my bags away and put them atop the luggage rack of the shuttle, offered me chilled water (frosty bottle wrapped in a napkin to prevent dripping), and asked me what my choice of music would be for today's journey from parking lot to my Southwest drop off point.

Along the 7 minute ride from lot to gate, Calvin, by example, proved to me the importance of greeting each and every passenger with a smile, a pleasant word, a whistled tune or a scratch-off ticket. Yes-in-deed, Calvin (I found out later) routinely gives away lottery tickets and other goodies to regular riders on his shuttle.

In between his recitations of poetry, singing and motivational quotes, Calvin offered me advice on life, freedom and the joys of membership as a Preflight frequent parker (not bad for $7 a day -- parking plus a lesson in psychology and business). You see, Calvin wasn't just pushing Calvin, he was promoting the Preflight company mission. He sees the big picture and understands the personal connections made by smiles, handshakes, positive words and actions.

In that 7 minute ride, Calvin "got me." I was bitten by the Calvin bug and discovered, on the return trip home from Texas, that I had officially been "Calvinized." I also discovered that Calvin has shuttled thousands of others during his overnight shift and that he actually prefers the overnight shift because he says it gives him an opportunity to focus more on one-on-one relationships, rather than the crowded, hurry-up pace of a filled shuttle bus. Whatever the reason, I am happy to report I'm Calvinized to the core now, feeling great and talking about the experience every opportunity I am able.

So how do you Calvinize your clients, wow your customers and exceed expectations with your prospects? Do you have a story about exceptional customer service that you can pass along. I'd love to use it in an upcoming keynote, workshop, presentation or blog.

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