Provide Excellent Service by Asking Just One Question

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Provide Excellent Service by Asking Just One Question

The Longevity of a Noonan-ism

You know how you hear something and it just sticks in your head—a phrase or saying that you just can’t shake? I have one of those. Mine comes from several years back, in a previous “work life” at a fantastic resort in the mountains outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Just a couple of weeks after I was hired there as the public relations director, the new Director of Sales Dennis Noonan blew onto property. And blew is totally the right word, as his nickname soon became “The Hurricane” for his out-of-the-box approach and passion for making things happen.

Over the four years that I worked with him, Dennis had a penchant for coming up with what those of us on staff affectionately called “Noonan-isms.” My favorite—and the one that has stuck with me over the years both for its simplicity and crossover to ANY industry segment or company—is this question: “How easy are we to do business with?”

Dennis asked this question frequently—like in every weekly managers meeting, quarterly company-wide Resort Report, and just about any conversation he had with his sales team or anyone else in his path. It worked, too. Employees across the 2,000-acre resort looked at the way they worked and operated in a new light. We began asking that question to see how we—as individual positions, departments, and as a company—were barriers to getting new business or to a guest having a great experience.

How would you answer this question for your company or for yourself in your current position?

Whether you are in sales, hospitality, real estate, consulting, manufacturing, healthcare, banking and finance, insurance, marketing—the list truly is endless—this Noonan-ism is relevant and is worthy of pondering. In my world of public relations, the key to my success is not churning out press releases or pulling story clips and putting them into a notebook. My success is determined by how easy I make it for media to get the information they need, when they need it, and not just answering their questions, but thinking ahead for them. Was I easy to do business with? Time and again, focusing on my favorite Noonan-ism has resulted in journalists thanking me for being a “great PR person” and remembering me when they have assignments that fit who I represent. They have a good experience; they come back to me again.

My Noonan-ism smacks the face of the often overused staple “Well, that’s how we’ve always done things here.” When you peel away the layers, we are all consumers and customers. We know a good experience when it happens to us. But do we focus on making sure we—as an employee and as a company—are providing a good experience to our own customers and vendors?

Try it—”How easy are we to do business with?”

You might be surprised at what you find. And you will be surprised at the longevity of this Noonan-ism…how long it sticks in your brain and impacts how you think and work for years in the future.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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