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Shining Service: 7 Lessons on Customer Service in 7 minutes

I have always believed that every conversation is a learning experience and every person is a teacher. My shoeshine experience today at La Guardia airport is a great example.

I had a few minutes to kill while waiting for my flight to Chicago, so I walked over to the shoeshine stand at the American Airlines terminal next to Gate D1. The shoeshine man introduced himself as John. What attracted me to John was his cheerful banter with his customers as well as passers-by at the airport.

Here’s what John taught me about customer service:

  1. Make them smile: To a lady passing by, John, without even looking at her, exclaimed - “Size 6 and a half. I can tell from the sound of your boots.” He put a smile on her face. He had a joke for every customer and for everyone around him. What a breath of fresh air for stressed passengers on a rainy Friday afternoon at a crowded airport!

  2. Keep them informed: I learned from John that Tom Hanks would be shooting a movie about the pilot Scully who landed the US Air plane in the Hudson. I learned about his “sexy work wife” next door who works a concession stand. He was n