Still in Arizona today with my whole family, and David’s comment (about returning a company’s hospitality by blogging about them) sparked this remembrance for me of our own talk story. Yesterday we visited Sedona for the first time, once cattlemen’s country and now thriving in the devotion of the tourist trade.
After hearing the cattleman’s story, while sitting in a pink jeep touring the Sedona outback:
“So what’s your main industry for Sedona now Patrick?”
“You are it! So thank you so much for being here, for I sure do appreciate it ” Look over at that waterhole: do you see the blue heron?”
Groaning theatrically, my family likes to tease me about my penchant for booking some kind of “touristy deal” every time we visit a place we’ve never been to before. They chide me for spending more of our shopping budget on “groupie tours” they feel we could’ve gone on ourselves if we’d just looked it up on the internet (which by the way has added an entire new dimension to traveling).
However I have found that no matter the price you get more than your money’s worth — IF you engage the tour’s host in conversation and get them to reveal all the best that city has to offer. If there are other locals in tow for some reason, everyone chips in to the conversation and you get the very best recommendations. My husband Kerwin is a champ at getting this to happen: he’s one of these people who can engage anyone in conversation at any time and have them love the experience. It is amazing what they will tell him. If he’s on the tour with us it becomes double bonus land.
Afterwards my kids will always reluctantly agree that the tour — even a badly picked, cheesy one — was a good idea and a great deal because of all the residual benefits we get out of it. Kerwin becomes the new victim of my kid’s teasing, for chances are he’s said something to his new-found audience while on tour — or two or three things — worthy of their ridicule. The entire day’s conversation has become this verbal game with us. Last night we were all doubled over laughing while having dinner at El Rincon, what must be the very best Mexican Restaurant in Sedona, thanks to Patrick’s tip.
Part of the day’s conversation centered around the coincidence this trip of getting two exceptional Mea Ho‘okipa (customer service providers) both named Patrick. One was our waiter at Murphy’s Restaurant in Prescott, and the second was our Pink Jeep Tours’ driver yesterday. Kerwin is now vowing to ask “May we have Patrick please?” every place we go on the rest of this trip.
People make all the difference in the world.
In business we always talk about hiring the right people, and how vitally important that is to the success of any company. As a customer craving great service, think about how much you can impact your own experience, because of the way you affect the mood of the people who serve you. My husband, Mr. Aloha personified, is truly my role model with this, and unfortunately he can’t come with me on every business trip I take. So I need to get better at it myself. We all do.
Kerwin probably made Patrick’s day in some ways too, for I’ll bet he was his most engaging customer all day long. Before long the two of them were talking story like they were old buddies.
Let’s all vow to be better customers.