“Our standard is giving more than what is expected.” 

Many of you who work at TLCHQ know that I will go to each department and say, “Hi” to everyone and deliver a message of the day. It is something that I enjoy doing and something that many have told me they look forward to. Still, many do not know the story of how I was inspired to start this TLC tradition; ironically, it was another person named Johnny that inspired me to share positivity every day.

I wrote about this story in a previous core value email a long while back but not in a tremendous amount of detail. So, I revisit it today because I think it’s so powerful and thought many of you have joined our TLC family in the last year and may find value in it.

Many years ago, a successful lady named Barbara Glanz was hired by a supermarket to train their employees about delivering a higher standard of customer service, which could help the supermarket improve their customer loyalty.

During her training, Barbara shared the knowledge she had gained over many years of customer service. She told the employees that each one of them could help create a memory for their customers or make them feel special, and that would possibly inspire them to come back. Everyone should look for a way to do that.

About a month later, Barbara received a phone call from a supermarket employee that attended her training. The employee’s name was Johnny, he was 19 years old, and he had down syndrome.

Johnny was limited by his condition and was just a bagger in the store, but decided when he was hired that he would be the best bagger he could be every day.

Johnny wanted Barbara to know that he was inspired by what she had said a month earlier, but he was only a bagger, and he did not think there was anything he could do to make his customers feel special. Johnny started to think of ideas that could help him achieve good memories for his customers.

After some thought, Johnny decided that he would come up with a “thought of the day” every night after work. He would take that thought and use his printer at home to print the message hundreds of times on paper and use scissors to cut out the messages one by one, so he could add them to each customer’s grocery bag when they visited his lane at the grocery store.

When Johnny was done bagging, he would look the customer in the eyes, write his name on the back of the message, drop the message in the grocery bag, and personally thank them for shopping at the supermarket.

A month after Johnny’s call, Barbara received a call from the store manager. The manager wanted Barbara to know that when he made his rounds at the store that day, he found that Johnny’s lane had three times the number of people waiting in line than the other lanes. The manager quickly announced to the waiting guests that there were other lanes with shorter lines, but he was shocked to see that nobody wanted to move and wanted to wait.

They told the manager, “It’s okay; we want to be in Johnny’s lane so we can receive the thought of the day.” The manager was so impressed, one lady even told him that she used to shop once a week, but because of Johnny, she had started visiting several times each week just because of Johnny and his messages.

A few months later, the same manager reported that Johnny had inspired the entire store to come up with ways to make people feel special. The floral department started giving broken flowers away as corsages to customers. The deli started handing out snacks while the customers waited for meat, and those in charge of collecting carts in the parking lot waited for customers that were leaving the store and pushed the cart for them and helped them load groceries into their cars.

Customers were happy; they were coming back, telling their friends and family to go as well. The entire store workforce was inspired to serve others at a high level, and it was all because of the example Johnny had set.  Johnny’s idea was not complicated or some innovative secret; it was simple, genuine, and loving. This is what touched his customers’ hearts, his fellow workers, and people around town that heard his story.

Johnny is an excellent example that the best service comes from the heart and a great reminder that people still love to hear nice things and be reminded that the world is not such a bad place. We can all learn a lot from Johnny, and most of it will not cost any money!

At TLC, we are trying to be like Johnny. We want our customers to feel special, we want them to have a great memory, and we want them to feel that it is genuine and from our heart, but we need everyone’s help. Can you help us give our customers a standard that is more than what they expected? Can you help them feel special and appreciated, so they share that experience with others?

The Johnny in the story had a standard that was more than what is expected; the Johnny writing this email has a higher standard than expected. Your name might not be Johnny, but you can help create a higher standard.  Are you ready?  Do you have any ideas? Let’s go!

Thanks for reading and have a great week!

God Bless

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