It was an amazing concert…at a huge, elegant bar in Panama. A banking client had invited my business partner and me to hear the great Salinas perform. The Argentine performer is renowned in the jazz guitar world. It was noisy when he walked onto the stage. But as his classical guitar began, the bar became a musical cathedral. Bartenders stopped making drinks and waitresses halted their movement all totally memorized by his amazing performance. Most everyone was fighting back the tears.
After returning to the States, I went online, bought a couple of his albums, and watched an interview with him.
“How are you able to create such an amazingly spiritual musical experience…something completely unique and memorable?” asked his interviewer. “I don’t play music,” Salinas said with sensitivity, “The music plays me.” His poignant words hung in my mind for weeks. What could be the customer service version of a Salinas performance?
Innovative service comes from being immersed in creating such a connection with a customer that you cannot tell where your serving ends and their receiving begins. It is being so authentic and compassionate that the best of who you are connects with the best of who they are. It is an expression of abundance and inclusion…giving and drawing in at the same time.
I interviewed Charlie, the doorman at the Marriott Quorum hotel in Dallas. At the time he was legendary throughout the entire Marriott Corporation. And, he was working many years beyond the point most employees would have taken their pension and gone fishing. His answer to one of my questions echoed the sentiments of Salinas. “When you give your very best to every guest, they give it right back at you. I am here for what they do for me.” Innovative service is about getting the service experience to play you.