As I mentioned when we started this series of generational gems, these stories have been around forever. However, considering the level of service we find in today’s marketplace—regardless of the industry—this is an analogy that should be retold again and again within many organizations. As a result, EXPECTATIONS can be given, ACCOUNTABILITY established, and CONSEQUENCES shared. Let’s not let this gem fade into the past.
Remember the old parable about the Wind and the Sun? Wind, being the blowhard that he is, bragged that he was more powerful than the Sun. So the Sun challenged the Wind to a test of strength. “See that young man walking along the road down there? Let’s see if you’re strong enough to make him give up his fine wool coat,” said the Sun. “Nothing to it,” Wind smirked. “Watch this!”
The Wind inhaled mightily and then expelled a cruel blast of cold air at the lonely figure below. The young man was almost swept off his feet, but the coat stayed on. In fact, the harder the Wind blew, the more diligently the man struggled to retain possession of his jacket and its protective warmth. Finally the Wind gave up trying to force the battered and buffeted man to give up his coat.
“Now, let me try,” said the Sun. And the Sun smiled warmly and expansively down on the young man. Almost immediately the man’s tightly-clenched fingers began to relax. The Sun continued to beam serenely, and soon, one by one, the buttons on the coat were loosened. Shortly thereafter, the young man slipped off the unwanted jacket and went whistling down the road.
The moral is quite clear. You can usually accomplish much more with a warm smile than with bluster and brute force. Before dismissing this familiar bit of common sense as being much too elementary and trivial, think about it. It may be “common sense,” but it’s certainly not all that commonly practiced.
To take the moral a step further, consider the warm smile as “good service” and the cruel blast of cold air as “poor or even non-existent service.” Which is more effective? Which will bring your customers back to your establishment time and time again?
Although you may be given the product and/or service, the quality, the price, and the proper training, the only ingredient missing is SERVICE. The most important ingredient can only be supplied by YOU! You hold the key to success! Use it!