Last week I arrived at a café to do some early morning writing. The service was very good. The staff were fast, extremely attentive and pleasant. You would agree with me that this level of service is what customers expect. However, on this day, my expectations were exceeded.
There was a particular moment while I was sipping tea and tapping away on my laptop, that left a lasting impression. This moment did not involve any words, did not cost me or the business any more money, and took less than 4 seconds to create a positive and memorable feeling.
One of the employees; a twenty-something-year old-girl, was outside clearing tables and wiping them down. I looked up from my computer and we made eye contact. She looked right into my eyes, paused and smiled through the glass of the window, and of course, I smiled back.
There is no doubt in my mind that the young girl has no idea what that very small gesture, what that moment of mindfulness in between the cracks of her busyness meant to me, the customer.  When I remember the great customer experiences I have had in my life, the most positively memorable interactions with a brand has always been the unexpected, the moments that took place between the cracks of the interaction are what made me feel special as a customer.
I witnessed in that moment an employee who was demonstrating mindfulness on the job.
Mindfulness is recognising what’s around you.
In a service environment, mindfulness is what enables staff to create moments in between the cracks of service. These moments may be ever so slight, seem quite minor and require little time at no cost, yet they make a significant positive impression on the customer who is at the receiving end.
Too many times we witness mindlessness; staff getting lost in the busyness and activities of their job. Looking past you, through you. Not noticing what is around them and focused on tasks at hand or the chit-chat of their own thoughts, consequently, they miss handfuls of opportunities every minute of the day.
It does make you wonder just how many special moments are available for your staff to create if they were mindful.
Here are 5 benefits of mindfulness in the workplace that lead to greater customer loyalty:

  1. Things get noticed: mindfulness is recognising what’s around you, which means small things get noticed and small moments can be created, genuinely, like a smile through a window.
  2. Self-control. This can be a benefit when dealing with both colleagues and customers.  Sometimes people may say or do things you do not agree with, but when you practice mindfulness, take a breath for four seconds; it gives you a calm, peacefulness to return to when things feel out of control.
  3. Improved concentration. When your employees can focus better on their work, your teams will be more productive, and your customers will be pleased by how clear and prompt their service is.
  4. Mental clarity.Having increased mental clarity gives employees a better ability to make good decisions efficiently, which keeps your processes flowing better, and again, makes for better, more efficient and effective customer service.
  5. Emotional intelligence and empathy. Those with higher emotional intelligence are better able to connect with their colleagues and customers and understand their needs.  They are also able to better put themselves in someone else’s shoes, and assess situations with empathy seeing others perspectives, with makes for better relationships, communication and service outcomes.

I am not surprised that many companies are exploring ways of encouraging mindfulness at work. Your employees are the best equipped to bring the ‘feelings’ into the customer journey’s  and by driving loyalty, according to research done by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company (the inventor of the net promoter score) increasing your customer retention rates (loyalty) by 5 percent will increase profits by 25 to 95 percent.
Jaquie Scammell
‘Be in Service’