It’s Christmas Eve and I am in the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Heading home for the holidays. With an early airport arrival and some time to kill I decided to head for Starbucks. To my good fortune, that is where I met Lily.
Lily Olson is a Barista and Shift Supervisor in Terminal D. She greets every customer with a mile wide smile and considerate focus on elevating the customer experience. The customer what? That is right…my experience in Terminal D. It isn’t what Lily does (serving coffee), but rather HOW she does it that makes her special. She takes an interest. Offers a compliment. Approaches the customer with such an extraordinary and engaging attitude that’s it’s contagious. She has a vision of her customer experience and I was smiling a mile wide and laughing with Lily before I had my Gingerbread Latte. Naturally curious, I wanted to know more.
Ryan: Why are you so happy?
Lily: I love working with people. I am happy to be here and I get to try and make my customers happy. That is important to me.
Ryan: Why is it important that your customers are happy?
Lily: When I am around happy people my job is more fun. That is what makes me happy. My customers are important. They are people and you just never know when someone could use a smile to brighten their day. I also want to make sure they come back.
Ryan: You want to make sure they come back to Starbucks?
Lily: Well, not just Starbucks. I want them to come back and see me in Terminal D.
Ryan: How do you do it? What is your secret?
Lily: The customer is the king. Treat them like it. It’s why we are here. Smile. Have fun. Help people. Just be happy.
Lily gets it straight away. She isn’t serving coffee. She is pouring happiness into people’s lives with passion and purpose. Over the top? Good thing she doesn’t see this way. She understands the ultimate secret to service: When the service provider delivers an extraordinary experience they personally are able to enjoy more meaning and fulfillment in their work. It is a direct correlation. It’s a simple choice. You give to get.
I am sure there could be other places Lily might rather be than making Latte’s in Terminal D on Christmas Eve. You’d never know it. She is present and deeply engaged in her quest to deliver happiness to every person that passes through her Starbucks.
Thank you Lily for the generous reminder to choose happiness and shining example you set. What a wonderful gift that couldn’t come at a better time.