Hold on To That Balloon!
A friend once offered a valuable piece of advice; “hold on to that balloon!”
In his view, the dreams, ideas, suggestions, and feelings provided by his team were like little notes, each tied to its own balloon. These “balloons” were offered to him throughout the week.
Sometimes, he was busy and couldn’t pull the balloon down in time, letting it float away, missing the opportunity to take advantage of the note attached. After awhile, our friend noticed that people whose balloons he ignored or couldn’t pull down in time tended to become disengaged and like a balloon, would float away.
“Hold on to your balloons” is more than merely a colorful metaphor, it’s good advice. In fact, how you and your management team handle “your balloons” not only says a lot about your company, but can often be a good indicator of how your customers view their customer service experience, and ultimately whether you’re on the road to success or failure.
How important is it that you hold on to your balloon?
Whether you’re a large company with thousands of employees, or a small office with just a handful of coworkers, how you handle the ideas of your internal and external customers and the customer service experience you provide is important. Do you tend to listen to some people and not others, only taking certain balloons while letting others slip away? Balloons, like ideas, don’t have a hierarchy. While you may rely on your Director of Operations to run your production workflow effectively, someone on the production floor might have valuable insight into how to systemize things more effectively. It’s important to listen to both to decide.
Are you set up to receive suggestions or are the communication channels a little congested? Do you pull down the balloon in a timely manner to view the message attached and acknowledge the giver, or do the balloons tend to disappear, floating away before you’ve even noticed they’re gone?
That’s the thing about balloons, unless they pop, they’re pretty quiet. They won’t poke you if you ignore them, they just float away. Ideas can be like that too; the most valuable suggestions and insights often come quietly. They might show up as a hand raised at the back of a crowded conference room, or in a short email arriving in your crowded inbox.
If you aren’t pulling down the balloons given to you how are you going to provide a positive customer service experience?
Think of every call and interaction with an employee or customer as a balloon with a note attached. Catch the balloon before it flies away and you have the opportunity to provide an empathetic and efficient customer service experience.
Train each and every employee to catch the balloons. As they follow through on interactions with real empathy, professional and positive attitudes, and solid listening skills, a single balloon will turn into dozens and soon your company will soar.