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Confirmation Turns Into Confidence

The story is simple.  It was almost midnight and I needed a cab to pick me up at the early hour of 4:30 a.m. for a very early flight home.  I called the hotel operator to set up a wake-up call for 4:00 a.m. and at the same time asked if there were usually cabs outside the hotel that early in the morning.  

She asked, “What time would you like a cab?”  I told her 4:30. She said she would take care of it.  I hoped she would.  That early in the morning, who knows if the cab would be there or not.

About five minutes later the phone rang.  I thought to myself, “Who could be calling me at midnight?”  Somewhat irritated I answered the phone. To my surprise it was the operator that I had just talked to moments ago. She told me a cab would be waiting for me at 4:30. She also told me the name of the driver and the cab company.  I thanked her and she wished me good night.

I thought it was someone calling the wrong room, but it turned out to be the very conscientious hotel operator making sure I knew she had taken care of my request.  Now I knew there wouldn’t be a problem getting the cab.

The next morning the wake-up call came as scheduled. It was one of those recordings thanking me for staying at the hotel and wishing me a good day.  Within a minute or so, the phone rang again.  This time it was the bellman telling me my cab would be waiting for me at 4:30.

Well, I was impressed.  Several times I have found myself waiting for a cab in the early hours, and as a result, I am always nervous about getting picked up – but not this time.

Here is the lesson.  Giving confirmation to a customer is a way of winning over his/her confidence, which is part of delivering great service that can lead to customer loyalty. sends you an e-mail confirmation that your order has been shipped, as does Dell Computer, LL Bean, and many other companies. Some of them even give you the tracking number for the freight company (UPS, Federal Express, Airborne, etc.)   What this does is gives you confidence that things are working the way they should.  When you add the people experience to it – such as the hotel operator and the bellman – you take it to an even higher level.

In the speaking business (a major part of my business) there is an old adage that when you get up to give a speech you tell the audience what you are going to talk about.  Then you talk about it.  Then you tell them what you talked about.

In business it is not much different.  Tell the customer what you are going to do. Then do it.  Then tell them that you did it.  They will appreciate you, have confidence in you and in return will give you more business.

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Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE is a customer service expert, professional speaker and New York Times bestselling business author who helps companies develop loyal relationships with their customers and employees.  For more information on Shep’s speaking programs and learning products, please contact (314) 692-2200.

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