Curiosity tears down walls

Curiosity is such a strong and compelling force.

Curiosity tears down walls

I snapped the photo above while walking through this construction tunnel. As you can see, there was no great mystery to what was on the other side of the tunnel, erected as a safety barrier, and yet someone had to have this mid-tunnel window, breaking through the wall best they could, and just enough to get a peek through to the other side.

Ironically, they are building another wall, an even higher one.

People love windows

We love windows in the way they let light shine in, both literally and metaphorically.

For instance, we love to look into the inner workings of a company. We feel privileged when given that look inside, and will applaud their transparency.

What can you show us where you work?

Conversely, is there anything you’re conscious of hiding from our view? What are your reasons? Would it be better to simply clean up whatever mess could potentially embarrass you?

A window with a guide is even better

Earlier this week, I made a call to American Express about a charge which shouldn’t have been on my credit card statement, and was pleasantly surprised with how the woman I spoke with turned the call into a great customer service experience.

Once the reason for my call was settled, she asked me if I’d like to take the time to review my account in other ways, including a request that I never be put through the automated voice mail system again while calling, and go straight through to a representative. She ended up tweaking my account in 5 different ways, each of them delighting me.

This was my window: she never put me on hold as many do because their computer system needs time to do its magic, and they don’t know what to say to you. Usually the silence is too uncomfortable, and they rather run the risk (which all customers hate) that we’ll get disconnected. Not this time: She had the same waits to fill, so she made the silence comfortable for both of us by talking me through the steps she was taking, sprinkled with statements about how much she loved her job. What an ambassador for American Express!

I’ve become someone who only uses my credit card when I have to. I much prefer paying in cash as a habit which makes me think twice before buying and keeps me out of debt. (Cash also helps the vendors I eagerly support, for they won’t have to pay any credit card merchant fees either.) However there are times cash won’t do, especially with all the travel I do, so I have two credit cards I’ll use when the need arises. I’ve kept both as my choices because the companies give me customer service windows that strip away any mystery of uncertainty (the other card is issued by USAA, one of the best-run businesses I have ever had the pleasure of working with).

This definitely fits into Managing with Aloha. Curiosity, windows in, and the light of Mālamalama (enlightenment.) A good way to revisit my own business models and improve them too: Model Me This.

Archive Aloha: Another story about customer service desks: Put that thing down!


  1. says

    I love this post, Rosa! (and the pictures, too).

    There is a fine line between good service and memorable service, just as there is a fine line between curiosity and interest. Those lines are important, and it takes an inner spark to get people to cross them.