Like You’re a Member of the Family…

This weekend, a friend of mine invited me to her Halloween party that her and all of her housemates were throwing.   Parties are always a blast.  For me it’s always fun when you get to hang out with cool folks in a relaxed setting but I think there is always a certain slight level of nervousness when you go to a party and you only know one person really well.

At this party, I got to spend time with my friend, which was great, but I also got to spend  some time with her roommates and her roommates friends, which was great too.   They were all super chill and welcomed me into the group like I was a member of the family.

This was a huge blessing for me, partially because of the fact that it had been a long week and it was good to have some time to just relax with cool folks but it was also a reminder to myself that as I walk through life that I don’t walk so fast that I miss out on all the great people who are around me.    There are so many great opportunities to show real unconditional love and be a blessing to the folks that you interact with.

A lot of my day-to-day is interacting with customers or planning how we’re going to do so.   This notion of unconditional love or treating customers like they’re a part of your company… part of your family is an important part of being successful.   As my friend Mike McDerment put it, customer service is an opportunity not just a cost center.  When you approach your customers in this way, that’s when you create the experience that makes them want to come back.  That’s when the customer wants to tell their friends.  That’s when your customers will go out-of-the-way to help you however they can.

I travel a lot for work.  I’ve become very familiar with a lot of hotels and airports across the country.  I’ve already been quite outspoken about how much The Kimpton Hotel chain has gone out of their way to show that as a customer I’m very important to them.

But this isn’t just something that you do in the office and then you give up in every other aspect of your life.  Love should be something that permeates every aspect of your lifestyle.

Speaking of my travel, similar circumstances to the Halloween party story, when I travel I’ll often only know one person where I’m going or not even know anyone.    There’s a certain level of scariness or uncertainty to that.

But I’ve been amazed that as I’ve traveled to places like for example San Francisco, Austin, or Seattle that I’ve been greeted so warmly by people who are total strangers.  The various tech folks in the tech communities have just included me as a part of the gang.  They’ll invite me to hang out, like I’m someone who’s been living in that town for the last 10-15 years.

You can’t help but leave that town with a sense of excitement and happiness.  You leave with a new set of close friends that you didn’t have when you came.

Can you relate to what I’m saying?  When it happens to you, it has a pretty profound impact.  I guess when it doesn’t happen, when you don’t know anyone at the party and everyone’s a jerk that would have a pretty profound impact on you as well.  I’ve definitely had those experiences as well.

What do you think?  Have stories to share?


3 thoughts on “Like You’re a Member of the Family…”

  1. It was great meeting you at Amy’s party this past weekend. I too only knew her. I had the same experience as you this weekend. It was refreshing to feel at home in a city where I only knew one person.

  2. Great post! I had a similar experience when I visited DC this past summer. As part of the trip, I wanted to see if I could connect with a few folk who work in IT accessibility. So I decided to take a gamble and put out a couple of tweets and such, not expecting much. Before I knew it I was having drinks with ten people who I had never met before, not everyone knowing each other either, yet everyone made me feel right at home. That’s actualy the backstory for me coming to DC in October.

  3. Justin,

    As an Event Planner I deal w/ hotels and other venues all over the nation on a day to day basis. It is incredible the range of customer service you will find at different place, and how much the climate can change from city to city. Let me just say, that folks in Houston are amazingly helpful and accomodating compared to people in Las Vegas, who unfortuantely for the most part are extremely difficult!! It makes such a difference in my job when I get to deal with someone who knows the importance of customer service, and is genuine in their interaction with me, and the firm I work for, as a client. It’s great that just being around people reminded you of this because that is what is it all about in the end – the people! Stopping to apprecaite relationships and treat them w/ respect and patience, and serving and helping one another when we can. Good post!


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