The Power and Influence of One

Through two interesting examples we explore the power that one person has to enhance or destroy a service, brand and customer loyalty. We begin with the story of 

The Brighton Barmy Bahji

We arrived at a recommended Indian restaurant we had never been to before. A warm welcome greeted us; it was moderately busy with plenty of table choices.

We viewed the menu and decided that we didn’t want to bulk up with late night food and chose 4 starters; Indian tapas style and drinks.

On ordering the waiter said we couldn’t order starters without a main meal! The reason why?

Because the Chef doesn’t like it and gets angry! Too angry apparently, for the waiting staff to dare asking him, even for us.

Naturally we left and found another option, happy to give our money to someone willing to appreciate.

We would have spent around £25 so not their biggest sale that night but the influence of one man begs the following questions

  • What business vision is happy to refuse £25 plus tips and prevents us becoming life-long customers?
  • Is the chef the owner and is he setting this vision for his team?

There are lots of learning here; the most stand out is, without a united vision (from centre to skin) you won’t be the successful business you could be.

‘Gestapo’ Lady – Luton Airport

Two of the big three psychological challenges for humans are Stress and Anxiety and these are almost inherent within the traveller’s customer experience because of the very nature and unpredictability in travel.

Staff and leaders that help to diffuse customer stress and anxiety therefore maximise their brand.

Think the very best experience on Virgin Atlantic and back in the day British Airways Concorde.

Not so the Gestapo Lady at Luton Airport.

As we gently moved forward in the pig pen queuing system towards one of two security points it became clear to me which one I wanted to avoid.

Not because I had anything to conceal but because I wanted to be treated as a human being and not an inconvenience to someone’s day.

The male security helper to the left guided customers through unloading bags, belts and lap tops etc with quiet reassurance. 

The female helper to the right clearly demanded compliant behaviour; reminiscent of a guard in a scene from the film Schindler’s List.

Psychologist know that empathy and compassion are delivered through communication such as

  • Language
  • Voice style (including tone, volume etc)
  • Non verbal behaviours and
  • A motivation to help (with alleviating stress and anxiety) link

Demonstrated through her vocal tone, words, body language and a different motivation-direction this lady was raising anxiety and stress.

Sadly, the only people picking this up we’re the customers – not the leaders who should have adjusted this damaging style.

My distaste for such a poor performance is aimed more at her leaders than her. She is likely to be unconscious of her impact.

In the first story we saw how a misaligned vision destroys the customer experience and at Luton Airport how those setting the vision must teach and model specific behaviours that alleviate customer stress and anxiety.

Just before I turned to reach the Duty Free area Gestapo lady barked at her customer/irritant, “You’re see-through bag is too big (it was no bigger than mine and some others that had  passed through) you’ll have to buy another one for a pound”.

Maybe she’s related to the Chef!

What will the leaders do? Let’s see how they reply to this blog.

If you would like a no obligation chat about linking your front line performance to a successful Vision contact us here at future vision training.




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