A little girl named Sandi was walking on a beach the morning after a rough storm had passed through. Strewn across the beach were hundreds, possibly thousands of starfish. One-by-one, Sandi would pick up a starfish and toss it back into the ocean.
A man was taking a morning walk and noticed what the girl was doing. The man asked Sandi why she was doing it, and she told him that she was trying to get the starfish back to the sea so they could survive.
The man replied, “But there could be thousands of starfish out here. You can’t possibly make much of a difference.”
Sandi’s face turned sad, she looked down, and stared at the ground. Then she slowly walked forward, picked up another starfish, and tossed it into the sea. “Well I made a difference to that one,” she said.
As Sandi continued, the man paused, and then he too started picking up the starfish and throwing them into the sea. Soon others who had been watching Sandi – and now the man as well – joined in. Eventually, all the starfish were back in the ocean.
Why do I relay this story to you today?
People who are great at customer service have some Sandi in them. You may not be able to change the entire world by addressing every customer that exists, by resolving every issue that occurs. But you make a difference with that one person in front of you, that one person on the phone, that one unique individual who sent the e-mail or wrote the letter.
You make a difference, and in doing so – whether you realize it or not – you get noticed. Maybe it’s your boss or a co-worker, it’s a friend or the customer himself – but somebody notices. And maybe because you do what you do so well in taking care of that one customer, someone else is educated or inspired to do likewise.
It’s not just leaders who are models. People who are great at caring for others through customer service are models, too.
Appreciate every opportunity to toss that starfish back to the sea.