This is the 10th of a 10-part series on Customer Leadership.
In this LEADERSHIP MINTS series, we celebrated the 100th anniversary of Steelcase Inc. (founded March 16, 1912) and salute their Customer Leaders (a.k.a employees). Those highly motivated Customer Leaders have consistently helped the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based company reign as the office-furniture industry leader for most of its 100 years in business.
By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an example of a Customer Leader who demonstrated customer loyalty.
The guest dining room at Steelcase Inc.’s corporate headquarters was set in spectacular style. There was the finest china, the shiny silverware, the sparkling crystal glasses —— and a corroding carburetor, a bent fender and other assorted aging motorcycle parts of days gone by . A 10-foot-wide banner hung on a wall:
Harley-Davidson, More than a Machine.
Mary was there to serve the executives from the famous motorcycle manufacturer more than lunch. The professional waitress served them a few of her own fond memories of riding Harleys. She wore an appreciative smile as bright as the rose on the black Harley Davidson scarf she wore that day. Mary glanced at the leather jackets and a leather skirt that she had on display in the dining room.
She smiled at the memory of riding on the back of her brother‘s Harley to high school so many years ago. Her eyes glistened as she scanned the carburetor and the fender from a friend’s Harley that she had put on display in the dining room like so many artifacts from a unique and rewarding culture. “It really is more than a machine,” said Mary. “And I am so honored to be serving you today because your company has served me so many great times, so many fond memories, so many great friends over the years.”
The executives from Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson, Inc. , making their first trip to Steelcase’s corporate headquarters as potential Steelcase customers, were impressed. Mary served them as much food for thought as for their appetites that afternoon. They went away that afternoon wondering what the Harley-Davidson, Inc executives could do to show Mary how much they appreciated their Steelcase waitress sharing her Harley experience with them in such a moving, emotional way.
To Mary: Ride Free, Willie G.
A thank you letter really couldn’t say all they wanted to say, they thought. And then the Harley-Davidson, Inc. executives thought of something unique that Mary says she will treasure for the rest of her life. On their next visit to Steelcase, they presented Mary a Harley-Davidson, Inc. flag that flew over the company’s corporate headquarters. The flag was personally inscribed by the grandson of the company founder, Willie G. Davidson in bold 10-inch high penmanship: To Mary, Ride Free, Willie G.
Encourage two-way customer loyalty to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.
You might also like these previous Leadership Mints on Personal Communications:
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