In an interesting study briefly described here by Jennifer Aaker, author of The Dragonfly Effect, researchers at Stanford University concluded that the distinguishing characteristic for happiness is a sense of connectedness and how connected you feel to those around you—such as your coworkers and even strangers.
Their light was infectious...
This got me thinking about two women—Michele and Colleen—who used to work for me at Monadnock Humane Society. Michele and Colleen’s faces would light up when someone walked through our front door. It was as if they could not wait to meet each new person and help them with whatever they’d arrived wanting or needing.
Both women had huge smiles that they shared readily; they looked directly at people with the human equivalent of “soft eyes” (you dog people know what I mean by that), and they filled the air with easy laughter. Their “light” was infectious, too. Not only did our customers respond really well to Michele and Colleen, but the rest of us were buoyed by their presence, too. The whole place felt brighter and more energized when one or both of them were working.
The best definition for great customer service
If the secret to happiness is connectedness, maybe the secret to customer service is hiring happy people. Happy people appear to derive their state from making meaningful connections with people around them—even strangers. I think that might be the best definition I’ve heard yet for great customer service!
Bert Troughton, MSW
ASPCA Senior Vice President, Animal Health Services
Bert Troughton joined the ASPCA in 2003 after 9 years as CEO of Monadnock Humane Society in New Hampshire and 10 years as a clinical social worker in community mental health. Past president of both the New Hampshire and New England Federations of Humane Societies, Troughton is a guest blogger on human dynamics in animal welfare and the author of the chapter on working with adopters in Animal Behavior for Shelter Veterinarians and Staff.
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