Recently, I discussed how recognizing work as meaningful is the key to productivity. Seemingly mundane tasks can become meaningful when we realize how those small tasks build one on top of the other to create a lasting impact.
Take the example that Bernadette Jiwa presents in her recent post. I’ve often wondered myself how flight attendants can maintain their smiles when much of what they do flight after flight is nothing more than the routine and boring. Those who love their jobs find meaning, even in the mundane. “The joyful cabin crew find ways to bring more of who they are to their role,” Jiwa explains. “They look for opportunities to gain fulfilment from what they say and do at times when they can go ‘off script’.”
Often, those “off script” occurrences are what gives the most value to the customer’s experience. In another post, Jiwa describes a job she had at a local coffee shop when she was growing up. The best parts of her day were the moments when she got to know the customers who made stopping by the little cafe a part of their busy day. “It was a privilege to become part of customers’ rituals—to be welcomed into their life,” Jiwa says. “We didn’t just exchange money for beverages and convenient snacks. We got to know people. We nourished them and became part of their story.”
You can be certain that the customers who returned time and again to this cafe did so for the value they found beyond the coffee and sandwiches they ordered.
When businesses fail to recognize unmeasurable value, when they seek meaning only in measurable results (i.e., dollars and cents), they lose much. Just as the cafe that Jiwa worked at eventually lost “its soul,” we business owners risk losing the heart of our businesses when we overlook what makes the customer experience worthwhile and memorable.
In the end, the experience we create is what matters to our customers. The revenue we gain from the services we offer and the products we sell is only one small part of the equation. More often, when determining the success of a business, what can’t be measured is what we should measure most.