By Deb Haggerty
As authors and speakers, we must always be alert to life. That is, we should always be paying attention to what goes on around us. You never know when an accidentally overheard conversation will give you your newest book idea, or a billboard will give you an important point for your next speech.
When I was working for Florence and Marita Littauer in the CLASSeminar, one of our exercises was to look at a variety of ads, pick one, and develop a five-minute talk from a spiritual perspective using the words on the ad. Another was to develop the talk from a selection of Bible verses. These exercises made me very aware of things in print I could use.
Perhaps my favorite alert to life scenario was an occasion when I was on deadline to produce a five hundred word article for a magazine—the article had to be in by midnight and I had absolutely no clue what to write about. Roy decided I might as well be well fed as I agonized over my dilemma, so we went out to eat at an upscale Italian restaurant.
The meal was exquisite, service was awesome, the salad forks were chilled—in other words, perfection. As we were sitting there, waiting for our next course, I happened to notice the motto they had posted on the wall—“The Art of Exceptional Dining.” I filed that away and went back to eating our delicious meal.
On the way home, I suddenly told my husband, “I’ve got it! I know what I’m going to write. I’m going to title the article “The ART of Excellent Customer Service,” and I’m going to use ART as an acronym.
“Oh, sure! And what is ART going to stand for?” He was sure I was out of my mind.
“Well, the A is for Attention to Detail—we have to pay attention to all the details about our customers and our businesses if we’re to provide excellent customer service.”
“OK, what’s R?”
“R is for Responsiveness. Our customers expect us to be responsive to their needs—sometimes before they even recognize they need something.”
“Teamwork! We have to work together to ensure the best outcome for our clients.”
He muttered maybe I had a good idea and, as we were now home, wandered off to watch TV. With the dining experience in mind, I converted what we had experienced into customer service terms and made my deadline.
If I hadn’t been alert to life, I’d never have paid attention to the motto and been able to turn my article in on time.
Deb Haggerty is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Elk Lake Publishing Inc., a traditional, royalty-paying Christian company that “Publishes the Positive.” She’s a Christ follower, wife, mom, and “Nana.” Deb is the author of These Are the Days of My Life and co-author of Experiencing God in a Broken World.