The Power of The Personal Touch-Part 2

After 16 years of frequent stays in hotels it had to happen... a fire alarm in the middle of the night. As I awoke at 2:08 AM (funny how you remember the exact time) to the the "whoop-whoop" of the alarm, I thought, "At any moment they will make an announcement saying it's a false alarm." As I sat up and began putting on my shoes, an automated voice told us to head to the stairways to exit. I was still skeptical that this was the real thing, but I complied-just in case.

After getting outside I learned there was actually a small fire that started in the ventilation system in the kitchen. Nothing significant-just enough to set off the alarm. Within 30 minutes we were back in our rooms.

As I lay in bed trying to go back to sleep, I couldn't help but think how I would have responded if the voice had been a real human being. I would have moved much more quickly. They could have used the same words as the "autotron" but the impact would have been very different.

Seriously, I understand the need to heed fire alarm warnings, sirens and similar signals (still a little jaded by my college dorm years), but in other areas our world has become so automated and impersonal. We know the power of the personal touch-but we just don't leverage its value.

Two weeks ago I needed to get a question answered about an airport's opening time. I found their phone number, dialed it, and expected to go through the regular series of menu prompts. Instead, a pleasant voice said, "Good evening and thank you for calling the Charlotte Douglas International Airport-How may I help you?" I had to pinch myself because I thought I was dreaming!

What could you do today to add more of the personal touch to your interactions? Don't be surprised if you get a very different response from those receiving the message.