Better to keep things smooth than to thrill

don’t want my UPS driver to thrill me — just deliver my package when I expect it. The best on-call driver arrives on time, in a clean car and gets me to my destination safely  — no thrill needed. The restaurant cook needs a day off — I get it. I still want my food to taste good — a basic expectation. Thrilling is for river rafting.

All of us love a thrill; we’re just too busy on customer service hold or trying to get a human in the billing department. Ask your gym friends, listen at cafe counters, eavesdrop at the dog park — the public is weary of deceit. People want honest facts and decent performance from you and me.

It’s a fragile leap from observant consumer to frustrated complainer — not always sure where I land. For instance, I think it’s criminal to avoid giving a price for standard medical care, inflating the bill and sending innocent families to collections. When I had cable television, it hurt to go into the brick-and-mortar store and find a frail grandmother shuffling through the line with her grandson begging for answers on why her monthly bill had doubled. Grandma believed the thrilling ad and then got snookered. Too many namesake standard-bearers in every community announce a thrill yet, their actions disappoint.

Having taught customer service and satisfaction throughout the world, I see someone took a wrong turn. Retail stores come with a circled web address to sign in and give a score. I give ratings and even write letters when I’m truly impressed — not because of a contrived system to thrill.

Five examples of smoothing instead of thrilling:

  • When we open a box of cereal we’d like to see it full — smooth our fear of being cheated.
  • Make your actual services as good as your sales and billing systems — smooth our suspicion that all you want is our money.
  • When parents drive a child to you for medical attention — be honest to your ads and smooth their terror of medical bankruptcy.
  • When we trust you for our vehicle repair — smooth the stereotype of extra, unneeded work.
  • When we download your app — smooth our paranoia of being hacked.

My new garage doors were magnificent. The insulation would keep my cars warm and my fingers moveable. If I forgot my bananas in the back seat overnight, they would no longer freeze.

The amiable serviceman wanted a score announcing, “We consider anything below a five a failure” — so, if I’m not thrilled, he fails. If I don’t give him the highest possible score the world will end.

A French buddy invited me to be best man or témoin in his wedding. It was being held on the island of Corsica. My function as witness was required in civil weddings. Having already endured the 11-hour flight to Paris, the one-hour and 45-minute jaunt to Ajaccio would be a breeze. And so it was until the pilot tried to land.

I believed my life was ending. As one wing dipped toward the Mediterranean Sea the other jerked sharply downward toward the mountains. When this sea-to-mountain tug-of-war finally ended and we landed, I was thrilled. That’s the last flight I ever want to be thrilled about in my life — I want the rest to be smooth.

Not wanting him to be a failure, I scored my garage door installer a five. This was before I felt the frigid draft blowing where the door failed to seal and prior to spotting missing bolts attaching the spring to the wall.

No, I don’t need a thrill. I just want things to go smoothly.

Rick Griggs is a former Intel Corp. training manager and inventor of the rolestorming creativity tool. He runs the 10-month Leadership Mastery Academy. rick.griggs83@gmail.com or 970-690-7327.

don’t want my UPS driver to thrill me — just deliver my package when I expect it. The best on-call driver arrives on time, in a clean car and gets me to my destination safely  — no thrill needed. The restaurant cook needs a day off — I get it. I still want my food to taste good — a basic expectation. Thrilling is for river rafting.

All of us love a thrill; we’re just too busy on customer service hold or trying to get a human in the billing department. Ask your gym friends, listen at cafe counters, eavesdrop at the dog park — the public is weary of deceit. People want honest facts and decent performance from you and me.

It’s a fragile leap from observant consumer to frustrated complainer — not always sure where I land. For instance, I think it’s criminal to avoid giving a price for standard medical care, inflating the bill and sending innocent families to collections. When I had cable television, it hurt to go into the brick-and-mortar store and find a frail grandmother shuffling through the line with her grandson begging for answers on why her monthly bill had doubled. Grandma believed the thrilling ad and then got snookered. Too many namesake standard-bearers in every community announce a thrill yet, their actions disappoint.

Having taught customer service and satisfaction throughout the world, I see someone took a wrong turn. Retail stores come with a…