Amy Rees Anderson

The Difference Between Okay and AWESOME

I believe strongly in the importance of paying attention to details because I know that the details can make the difference between something being okay and something being AWESOME. And I always prefer AWESOME!

I once shared a story about an experience that happened when my daughter was 14 years old that shows how the details can make the difference:

It was a Friday night when my daughter came home talking about a new gas station that opened up close to our home.  She said, “Mom, that new gas station is awesome! The guys that work there are so nice and the gas station is really sweet inside, you have to see it!“ I thought it odd that a 14 year old seemed so impressed with a gas station but I shrugged it off until Saturday night when she and I were driving home and she again brought it up saying, “Mom, you have to stop at the gas station and see it!“  I didn’t need gas but we both wanted a fountain drink so even though I didn`t need gas, I thought, what the heck? Maybe I should see for myself what is so special about this gas station…

As we pulled up to the gas station around 10pm that night the first thing I noticed was how incredibly well lit up the station was both outside the building as well as inside.  With it being really dark out it really made it standout nicely all lit up outside.  We parked and walked into the station convenience store and immediately we were greeted by the man at the desk who was clean cut and professionally dressed (quite the change from some gas station attendants you typically see these days).  Another worker walked up and asked if there was anything he could do to help us.  He was also clean cut and professionally dressed.  He smiled as if he was genuinely happy to help us.  I was a little taken back as it was just a little gas station store and this was a very atypical reaction from these workers.  We made our way to the slushy machines and I noticed how incredibly clean and organized their store was.  Everything was so clean and sanitary.  I was impressed. 

As we went to make our slush my daughter began mixing her flavors into one drink while I went with the boring (according to her) single flavor myself.  As we walked to the counter to pay, the gentleman complimented my daughter on her colorful mix of flavors saying, “the best flavor is if you mix the red and blue slush half and half and add a little drop of mountain dew in it”.  He then offered for me to drink half of the slush I’d poured in order to make room for me to try the mixed flavor he was suggesting.  I declined as I would have felt bad taking more slush but I thanked him for the offer and assured him I would try it the next time.  After I finished paying the other worker held open the doors for me and my daughter and then he stood at the door to watch us get safely into our cars before he waved goodbye.  I suddenly was reminded of a quote I once heard which stated that “when we withhold a compliment from someone who deserves it we are exhibiting pride”.  So I stopped before getting into my car and told the gentleman how impressed my daughter had been with their service when she came home and how she talked about it several times since then.  I let him know that I could see why she was so impressed and I thanked him.  Then we drove off. 

My daughter was a little embarrassed that I shared her thoughts with them so I told her the quote that came into my mind about pride and explained to her that it is important for us to let others know when they do a good job, otherwise we are being prideful.  She understood and agreed.  When we got home both she and I shared with my husband and son how great our experience had been at the gas station.  My daughter said “I can’t believe that for two days I have been talking about a gas station, but they are just that awesome!”  I thought about her comments all day the next day.  She was right – it was amazing that we had so much conversation over a gas station, but the fact was that we had been WOW’d with an amazing customer experience.  Those two men had been great at customer service.  Not just by how they acted, but also by the great lighting that made us feel safe at night and the clean store they kept and the professional way they looked.  Then on top of all of that you add the way they treated us and were so genuinely excited to help us out and they created a WOW customer experience for us. 

THEY CARED ABOUT THE DETAILS. They cared about the lighting. They cared about the cleanliness. They cared about every little detail of our customer service experience. They understood how to be AWESOME!

Put your heart into the details because that is how you get from just okay to AWESOME!

~Amy Rees Anderson (author of the newly released book “What Awesome Looks Like: How To Excel in Business & Life” )

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