A “Wow!” Experience

by Patrick Liew on October 31, 2015

On 28, October 2015, I was invited to give a talk in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. 

The organiser was kind enough to arrange for somebody to pick me up. 
When I stepped out from the airport, I was wondering how I was going to identify that person. 
My concern was quickly put to rest because I saw a smiling young girl rushed towards me in the crowded terminal.  
“Dr. Liew, welcome to Vietnam. My name is Thao and I’m here to fetch you to the hotel and convention centre.”
At that point, I felt really good. 
As I’ve always said, doing business is very much a transference of your feeling and emotion to your targeted customers. 
If you look after their interest, they will be more inclined to look after your interest. 
When you sincerely show your care and concern, they will most likely reciprocate and show care and concern to you. 
“Dr. Liew, is there anything I can do for you?” Thao continued. 
“Call me Patrick please. Can I have a bottle of water?”
“Sure,” Thao replied and led me to a small cafe. 
When I offered to pay for the drink, she told me that I was her company’s guest. 
Therefore, she insisted on settling the bill. 
I thought to myself, Thao must be working for a customer-centric organisation.
It must have a strong culture for providing good service. 
My guess was confirmed that evening when I met Gary, the assistant of Dr. Ernest Wong, an old friend and a fellow speaker who has worked with the organiser for a longer period of time.  
Gary confirmed that the organiser was indeed a company that believed in looking after its customers. 
As I conversed with Thao, I discovered some more amazing information. 
Thao was only 18 and a student. Although she was just a part-time staff, she discharged her duties as if she was one of the owners of the company. 
Thao’s managers must have taught her well. They have helped her cultivate, what I called, an employer’s mindset. 
With such a mindset, she would be more focused on helping the company achieve its vision and goals and build an effective structure, system and process. 
Throughout my time with Thao, I have to say that she heaped lots of compliments on me. 
Even though I knew I have flaws and was still a student in the University of Life, I have to admit it felt good to be recognized and respected. 
Thao practiced what I termed as a “tee-up” process, a vital organisational process that I have been teaching and endeavouring to entrench in my business. 
They principle behind the tee-up process is simple: People like people who like them. 
Every person has positive values, strengths, and achievements. 
Look for the good in people and help to reinforce and strengthen these traits in their life.
Take every opportunity to shower them with your affirmation and appreciation. 
Compliment and praise them – sincerely, appropriately and generously.
Recognize their good deeds privately as well as publicly. 
Do everything possible to inspire them to achieve greater success.
If you expect the best from them, you’ll get the best from them. 
When you make the other party feel important and respected, they will also make you feel important and respected too.
Somehow, that was what I did for Thao. 
Throughout the day, I praised her in front of her managers and colleagues, and even to the other speakers and customers. 
The climax of Thao’s wonderful service happened over dinner and supper. 
I told her I loved to eat Pho, a traditional delicious Vietnamese herbal soup made up of rice noodles, vegetables, and a choice of meat, including beef or chicken. 
Thao redirected the taxi to a restaurant that served a good variety of Pho. 
I had a good meal and that must have contributed in some ways to a better speaking performance and results. 
After the talk, I had supper with Dr Ernest Wong and Gary, and Donald and Tam who were Thao’s managers. 
In her usual friendly disposition, Thao asked for our choice of drinks. 
All of us wanted a coconut but the restaurant did not have it on the menu. 
Thao said, “No worries. I’ll buy it nearby and bring it to all of you.” 
Off she went and disappeared for quite a period of time. After a while, we were puzzled as to where she might have gone to purchase the fruit. 
Someone in the group said in jest, “She must have gone to a coconut plantation and climb up one of the trees to pluck the coconuts for us.”
Another person responded, “She may not be able to climb the tree. I think she’s still shaking the tree and hoping for the coconuts to fall on the ground.”
We had a good laugh. 
Little did we know that our words would return to haunt us. 
After a long while, Thao literally ran into the restaurant with a bag full of coconuts. 
She couldn’t find any coconuts nearby.
She did not give up trying to buy coconuts for us. Even if she did, it would be normal and acceptable to us.
Instead, she took the initiative to catch a taxi and look for the coconuts. 

I reflected on the experience while waiting to board the plane. 
The heart of a business is customer service. 
Without offering good experience, it’s unlikely the business will grow healthily. 
I have always said that the heart of a service problem is a problem of the heart.
The worst heart disease is not to have a heart for people.
If you don’t have a heart for the customers, nothing in the world can help you to improve your service.
The quality of your heart determines the quality of your service.
When you sincerely care for people and provide outstanding service, chances are you will have an outstanding heart.

I sent this Love Note to all the people mentioned in it. I like to thank all these people again for giving me a wonderful experience. 
Most of all, thank you Thao. 
You were a great teacher and you taught me through your life and lips what it meant to provide an exceptional service. 
Your service is not just about a series of activities but an experience that captures hearts and minds – an experience that is being stored as a beautiful part of my long term memory.
Great customer service is about creating great memories. 

I hope this message will find a place in your heart.


By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.
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Please visit my website, http://www.patrickliew.net
Please read my reflections and continue to teach me.
Life is FUNtastic!


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