After reading a recent post by my friend Roy Atkinson about a poor Customer service experience he received at an airport, I was somehow reminded of Coming to America (1988). You can read Roy’s post here. Aside from some worst-practices Customer facing employees can exhibit, I agree with Roy’s assessment that an overnight job at an airport terminal is not glamorous or highly sought out. The cashiers were not engaged, and their Customer left without a clear understanding of what just happened. Prince Akeem was just the opposite.
Prince Akeem lived a pampered royal life. So pampered he did not even have to tie his own shoes (among other things). When he moved to New York City he took a job at a fast food restaurant called McDowell’s. Yes, the chain is similar to McDonald’s but let’s not confuse the facts with the issues.
Akeem was assigned mop and trash duty for his shift. He was thrilled to have a job and wanted to work hard. After all, this was the first time he was allowed to work.
Prince Akeem: I am Akeem.
Lisa McDowell: It’s nice to meet you, Akeem.
Prince Akeem: I have recently been placed in charge of garbage. Do you have any that requires disposal?
Lisa McDowell: No. It’s totally empty.
Prince Akeem: When it fills up, call me. I will take it out most urgently.
Lisa McDowell: That’s good to know.
Prince Akeem: When you think of garbage, think of Akeem.
Even getting a milk shake thrown on him did not dampen his spirits while on the job. This type of positive attitude rubs off on Customers. When we show our pride in the workplace, our Customers see it. They will become proud to use our services.
This is why it is so important to get employees to become engaged as brand owners. Meghan Biro focused on employee engagement in a recent post at Forbes.com. As leaders, we can leverage internal social media systems to get greater employee engagement. Once your employees believe they are an owner of the franchise, through their actions, the level of Customer service they provide will increase dramatically.
Image © 1998 Paramount Pictures