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[How little things can result in huge reputational gains]

It is the middle of July, the Greek summer sun is bearing down on you mercilessly, so you head for your favourite bar on the beach. The barista greets you with a smile. ‘You know that weird cocktail you asked me for yesterday – the one I hadn’t heard of?’ he asks. ‘Well, I looked it up, found the ingredients and prepared it for you. Here it is. On the house’. Wow!

The world of Customer Service is full of little incidents like this one (taken from ‘The Power of Moments’ – p. 55). Imagine for instance being a CEO and flying off somewhere to receive an award in front of 2,000 people. Then at the very last moment you discover you forgot to pack a tie. The hotel manager who happens to be present simply removes his own and gives it to you. Fantastic! (‘The 12 Elements of Great Managing’ – p. 13)

And what about that employee at Nordstrom? A customer walked in saying she had bought something which she needed to give someone as a present, only they had forgotten to gift-wrap it for her. The employee immediately offered to do this for her. Nothing special here – except that the item had not been bought at Nordstrom but at Macy’s! (‘Made to Stick’ – p. 73).

Is there a lesson for us here? Indeed there is. Our students watch us all the time – and they talk about us. Whenever we do something unexpected, something special, whenever we go the extra mile, this registers immediately and can have a huge impact on our reputation.

Imagine for instance a parent calling the school saying that something has come up at home and she cannot pick up her child for at least an hour. Now imagine the teacher driving the child there on her own initiative.

Or imagine a teacher hearing about one of her students winning, say, a sports tournament and throwing a special party at the language school as a special treat.

What message would these actions send? That the teacher cares for her students not only as learners but as human beings as well. Think about how the students and the parents would see her – and what they would say about her. Think about how much more students would learn from a teacher they like. Then think about how these little things would change the teacher herself.

The Moral: YSeek out opportunities to shine.