The holidays bring businesses staffed with part time employees helping to cover the busiest buying season in the retail world. Some part timers are great and need little leadership or direction to create awesome experiences. However, some are just looking for extra spending money to buy holiday gifts. They are more concerned with hours worked than service delivered. Absent any skin in the game (like a commission, incentive, or a piece of the action), they focus on chores not outcomes; they check a box instead of championing the customer.

It makes those who are there to eagerly serve stand out like the star on top of the Christmas tree.


Going the Extra Mile


Nordstrom has a history of “go the extra mile” employees willing to do whatever it takes to make a customer happy. We all love Disney theme park stories of cast members (employees) who know that spreading the pixie dust of magic is part of why they are there, not just to play a role, collect a check, and go home.

An employee at a school for children with autism located Preventa Wear in Skakopee, MN—a company that specializes in making adaptive clothing for children with special needs. The employee ordered body suits for the children. When the suits did not arrive she contacted the company and learned the package had been shipped but was not only lost, it was untrackable. What happened next, is the spirit of the holiday season personified.

Cyndi, the owner of the company, personally sewed new bodysuits so they could be immediately shipped to the school.


Focusing in on Thoughtfulness


My mother, the late Avis Bell, was a child of the depression. Her stories of living through the worst economic times of the last century were peppered with joyful memories of special Christmases when there was no money to buy gifts. Handmade original surprises had to replace store-bought ones. The restriction forced the giver to think about the uniqueness of the recipient; it enabled the receiver to appreciate the “labor of love” over the “expediency of purchase.”

Service is at its purist when you are willing to put skin in the game. Look for ways this season to make your gift of service a labor of love through your investment, not just your assistance.