Stories From The Frontlines
Joyful customer experiences start with joyful employees.
Join us in uncovering the stories of everyday heroes whose contagious joy lights up our world.
All of the gas lines are being replaced in my neighborhood - visualize sidewalks, alleys, and streets being excavated. In the midst of all of this, we had temporarily moved out for a kitchen remodel – more on that another day. We’ve moved back in, it's dinner time, and I go to turn on my super cool new gas Wolf stove, yes the one with the red knobs, but wait, what? - no gas. Instead of "calling" Atmos, my husband decided to go see if the workers were still there. They were! My husband asked if they could help, and they said yes! Bonus – he got a brief engineering lesson on the old pipes vs. new pipes. The crew worked until 8p that night getting our gas back on!!!! J.J. arrived to inspect the work inside and outside, then helped turn on the pilot light. He was courteous, friendly, and helpful. He noticed the Wolf stove and we shared cooking stories and the love of cookbooks! His wife collects cookbooks! WHY IT MATTERS: This positive interaction started when my husband chose to go talk to the workers vs calling. He went with a positive attitude, just seeking help. Not complaining, not ranting. The workers wanted to help solve the problem and they stayed late and put in the extra time to fix it. Sometimes the service we receive starts with how we treat people. Hospitality is a two-way street – pun intended! Connecting not transacting!
My flight was over 2 hours late arriving in Atlanta (9:30 pm-ish). Then, there's the VERY long trek to the rideshare section of the airport. I'm frazzled and tired, yet greeted by Ryan sporting a huge smile! Already, in an uplifted mood, I jumped in the car, and off we go. As soon as we get on the highway, ugh… it’s bumper to bumper, nighttime construction (JOY…. NOT!) Ryan, a first-generation American, is 34, married, and father to a 2-year-old daughter. He drives to pay it forward for a better life for his daughter just like his grandmother and mother did. Ryan’s grandmother migrated to New York from the Caribbean to provide a better life for his mom when she was young. When Ryan was a teenager, Ryan’s mom moved from NYC to Atlanta to provide a better life for him. During the pandemic, Ryan worked for an airline, and was let go, yet saw it as a blessing, not a roadblock or adversity. He had stagnated in his growth at the airline and wanted to achieve more! He used some of the money to pay down his mortgage so he could live without the pressures. WHY IT MATTERS: Ryan has strong faith and wonderful goals, and with his positive perspective, I’m sure he will be wildly successful. What a blessing for me to meet Ryan. I left the airport frazzled and tired that night (this pic of highlights that point- HA!), after the 45-minute #lyft ride with Ryan, I was uplifted and inspired. Joy is a choice, even when adversity strikes - whether that be big things like getting let go from your job or little things like travel delays.
Tawauna was engaging all of the travelers, yes in the women's restroom of the airport. Each and every woman that walked in, Tawauna looked them in the eye, smiled, and said, "Have a blessed day!" Watching her in action, she was wildly great at her job! I definitely had to speak with this incredible woman. WHY IT MATTERS: One of the many favorite comments she shared: "I'm keeping it clean for all my queens." I absolutely loved this. In a job that many might not want, Tawuana takes pride in her job and shares her joy. How can you find more joy in your job and share the joy with customers and coworkers, like Tawauna?
It was one of those mornings where nothing was going as planned or on time, so I barely got out the door to make my flight. Arriving frazzled, as you can see in the pic, Marissa greeted me with a contagious and joyful smile that in an instant transformed my attitude and my day. In talking with Marissa, she is working her way through school at SMU, studying engineering, and first generation to attend college. She’s proud to say that her “story began” at Dallas College when she got her associate degree while working 3 jobs. She’s focused, determined, and has goals. WHY IT MATTERS: You can tell when someone enjoys their job. For Marissa, it isn’t just the interactions with the customers that she enjoys. It’s that she feels supported by Freedom Park in many ways – the flexibility, career path opportunities, and even the social gatherings like lunches and breakfasts. Joyful customer experiences start with joyful employees. Marissa is one of those joyful employees! Well done! How can you better support your frontline employee’s goals?
I dreaded going to my regular place in the mall for glasses. When I arrived, it was packed, and unclear how long the wait would be. No one welcomed me or said anything, and after about 15 minutes and trying on several frames, I left empty-handed and disappointed. I was ready to buy glasses and sunglasses. I knew the brand Warby Parker but really didn’t “know” the brand. In my car, I googled it and found a location close by. Josue greeted me immediately and picked out five frames that were perfect for me. I landed on these frames and even picked out some sunglasses too! Josue loves what he does, and it showed in his exceptional customer service. He is still in college and is thinking about becoming an ophthalmologist. Warby Parker and Josue made my experience enjoyable and fun! I'm a customer for life and now a brand fan! WHY IT MATTERS: Are you losing business because of a bad wait experience? Whether it's restaurants, retail, or healthcare, what are you doing to ensure that your customers have a good experience while waiting?
When was the last time you actually talked to and thanked your restaurant delivery driver! WHY IT MATTERS: Good things happen we make human connections! It’s time to stop transacting and start connecting!
Like many other days, I had an out-of-town business trip and went through the airport drill. Sat down in my seat, popped open my laptop to send a few emails before it was time to go. Head down staring at my computer, I started to hear some laughter. I look up gleefully to see what was going on - joy was in the air. It all was emanating from Tia, one of our flight attendants. I watched as the smiles happen and connections were made between strangers vs. passengers just “being” in their seats. As everyone was settled in, Tia took her seat in the jump seat right in front of me. I leaned over and quietly told her that her joy was contagious and what a difference she was making in spreading happiness and joy to passengers. We immediately connected and bonded as we talked about the need for more joy and less fear in the world. WHY IT MATTERS: Every once in a while, a stranger comes into our lives at just the moment we need them the most. I had one of those days today. We have a family member who is very ill which is weighing heavy on my heart. It turns out that before being a flight attendant Tia was an oncology nurse. Tia chooses joy over fear every day for her own life and has helped many of her patients and family members find peace. It’s the little things we can do that make a BIG difference, like Tia - one flight, one passenger, one moment at a time! Joy is a choice.
Mark works for Aimbridge Hospitality Homewood Suites by Hilton as Task Force General Manager. While staying there, I mentioned my #journeybacktojoy work and he recalled how much he could relate to "living through the pandemic" especially navigating those early days. So, I surprised him with a signed book. WHY IT MATTERS: It's stories like this that make it so "worth it" to have written this book. Joy is a connector between all of us! Feeling very joyful.
The eagle has landed! 17 boxes of 'The Business of Joy' have arrived!!! I could tell Juan wasn’t used to getting his picture taken… but of course, you know I had to ask!!! Some things are perfectly predictable! HA! WHY IT MATTERS: UPS thank you!!! Your driver was awesome! When I told him what was in the boxes, he was excited too! Just another small step on the Journey Back to Joy!