Five Golden Words Of Customer Service

I was booked as a motivational speaker recently for a hospital staff event.  I love speaking to hospital groups. I do not like parking. I am directionally challenged anyway. Add six one-way streets, four parking lots for employees only, fourteen buildings that all look the same, and not one person to stop and ask for directions – and getting to my event can be a harrowing experience.  This recent case was no different.

I started out early – which turned into just in time – which turned into late. I had circled the hospital campus enough times that my heart pressure was rising so high that I was quickly reaching the point of getting a free ride into that hospital, only I couldn’t be trusted to find the darn ambulance!  I was ready to crawl up in a corner and cry (except that I was driving) when I pull into this parking lot and see this beautiful big sign that said “VALET PARKING”. I swear I heard a heavenly choir of violins playing. When I saw that man in the yellow valet vest come up to my window, I reached out and kissed him smack on the lips, tongue and all. (In my head.)  Instead I smiled and said, “Oh! Please tell me you can park my car! I’m going to be late and I have no idea where I’m supposed to go from here!”

And he smiled and nodded and said the five golden words I hope I never forget: “I can go one better.”

He told me to get out, get in the passenger seat, and he was going to drive me to the front door of the building where I was to speak. And that is exactly what he did – even going so far as to turn around and come down the street the other way so I wouldn’t have to cross the street. “Don’t forget your coffee!” he called out the window as he waved good-bye and I stood there misty-eyed, clutching his hand-written directions to find my way back to the valet area.

We talk about remarkable customer service all the time. And this was one more example of someone over delivering. And if you are taking notes to yourself to start driving your customers around, you have missed the point. I simply challenge you to hold one phrase in your head – five simple words – and to use them as often as you can when dealing with customers – “I can go one better.” And then do it.

It’s the motive that counts in customer service. You can teach your employees ten things they can do to serve their customers. Or you can teach them to think “I can do one better” in every case. I have a feeling THIS will serve your customers better.

I hope you find these words helpful. In fact – I can do one better – I’ll write another post tomorrow.




Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson - called one of North Carolina's funniest women by Our State Magazine. Kelly lifts the spirits of audiences from coast-to-coast using humor, storytelling, and lives of the characters from Prides Hollow - Kelly's make believe small town. This unique approach to motivational speaking allows Kelly to break through communications barriers and connect directly to the audience's imagination.
Her powerful stories and wacky wit will make you laugh, remind you that you matter, show you how to see beyond your obstacles, and teach you how to stand up and stick out in a crowded market.
To book motivational speaker Kelly Swanson:
Motivational speaker Kelly Swanson's website

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  1. You are such an incredible motivational speaker and story-teller who always goes one better! I love when you take me along for a ride on your adventures. In fact, take me along sometime for real …. I enjoy reading maps (when I’m not behind the wheel) and parallel parking (when I am). My father made us be able to excel at a 3 point parallel park before we could get the keys to cruise.

  2. What GREAT words, Kelly!  I LOVE them!  Most motivational speakers have some pretty good ones – YOU find them everywhere you turn!  So thank you for sharing these.  They might just be my new favorite ones!

  3. I was so relieved when the valet swooped in and then topped it off with those 5 words!  Your strong story telling makes it effortless to imagine how any customer would feel if offered that extra service.  Beautiful prose and beautiful advice Kelly!

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