E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

From the blog

Johny and The Simple Truth of Service

Gran Canaria - Roque Nublo's Surroundings (El Monje)A few months back I put together a blog post over here where I highlighted the fact that Great Products Don’t Need Customer Service by pointing out one of my favourite experiences I went through when I went back, where I grew up, for the summer holidays, and enjoyed some of the most amazing morcilla. And for several days! Well, today I thought I would go ahead and venture to state that excelling customer experiences don’t need much of customer service either. And perhaps not much of Social for that matter! When was the last time that you had a customer experience where you felt touched, emotional, engaged, perhaps even loved?

While you keep thinking about that one, I can tell you that I had to go way way back in time to remember my last one of those superiour customer experiences. However, there is hope out there, specially, when you bump into a rather short video clip that a fellow IBM colleague, Fran O’Sullivan, shared internally, in our social networking platform, and which has been making the rounds quite a bit, although externally it looks like it has faded away a little bit. Unfortunately. 

In The Simple Truth of Service Barbara Glanz shares along one of the most inspiring, touching, mind-blowing stories you are probably going to hear, read or see this year. No doubt. It’s about a story where “you put your personal signature on the job“. About how you, the seller employee, needs to think about “something you can do for your customer to make them feel special“, building up on a memory, or series of memories, that will make them come back to you for more. 

And there it begins the wonderfully touching story from Johnny the bagger. No, not to worry, I am not going to spoil it for you folks. It’s a delightful 3 minute long video that I would ask you to stop anything you may be doing, including reading this blog post, and watch it through in its entirety and then come back: 

Truly amazing and rather incredible story, don’t you think? I am not sure about you, but I guess, after watching it, excelling customer experiences have taken a new meaning for me. Hope for you, too! One where “everyone is having a lot of fun creating memories“. One where the focus shifts away and turns into “our customers are talking to us … they are coming back, they are bringing their friends” [Emphasis mine], more than anything else, because for the first time in a long long while employees choose “to make a difference”. 

Barbara herself highlighted it very recently what it is all about: “Great service comes from the heart!“, but in the exceptional case of Johnny it lies even deeper than that, as it is brilliantly quoted on the video clip itself: 

“Johnny’s idea wasn’t nearly as innovative as it was loving. It came from his heart — it was real”. That’s what touched customers, his peers… and those who read this story” [Emphasis mine]

They say that Social / Open Business is all about inviting customers to participate and share in open, direct, transparent conversations with the ultimate goal to delight them. In short, it’s all about engagement. But I guess we should never underestimate the power of stories either, stories that go rather deep, that touch our hearts in places we never thought even existed. In stories that truly bring up what an exceptional customer experience is all about: everything, but technology. It’s all about emotion and essentially how much of that emotion, passion, loving AND caring you put into it all. And for the vast majority of cases you may not even need to use technology for that. Just your human nature. That special one we all have hidden somewhere deep inside ourselves and that I sense needs to start coming out more and more often as we transition into that fascinating world of Open Business. 

“When the heart is in the right place, 
The ego gets out of the way.
That’s when great service
comes shining through”

Wise words, indeed. So next time that someone asks you to define what a truly engaging and delightful customer experience should be like, we probably don’t have to look any further up than Johnny the bagger.

The simple truth of service.

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  1. What a story! One of the things I always think about is how can I encourage that sort of action out of my peers, my friends, and family. Simple answer is through leading by example. Walk past garbage on your street? Stop and pick it up. See someone struggling to get on the subway? Give them an arm to hold on to. It’s what I call the basics of being a human.

    Talk about leadership. Johnny is now leading us all through his example (well beyond that supermarket store). I always tell people I talk with that you don’t have to be in an executive or management position to be a leader. In fact, most managers that I know are the exact opposite of leaders. They just follow the systems and processes that their organization tell them to. So, I ask them, “how are you helping to lead our organization?” Seems like Johnny knew the answer…certainly a good question for all of us to ponder.

    Oh and by the way, launched my website: wwww.FredSchwark.com Thanks again for all of the inspiration, Luis!

    1. Hi Fred! EXCELLENT commentary, indeed! Thanks a lot for sharing it along with us over here in this blog post! I just couldn’t help thinking, while reading through your comments, about the blog post that Dave Snowden put together a while ago on Rendering Knowledge, which I still consider it the core foundation of what Knowledge Management, Knowledge Sharing and perhaps Social Business is all about. Specially, and related to this conversation this particular quote:

      “In the context of real need few people will withhold their knowledge. A genuine request for help is not often refused unless there is literally no time or a previous history of distrust. On the other hand ask people to codify all that they know in advance of a contextual enquiry and it will be refused (in practice its impossible anyway). Linking and connecting people is more important than storing their artifacts.”

      That’s just, indeed, part of our human nature that we have perhaps been neglecting and ignoring for a few decades and that I am really glad we are finally breaking loose from it thanks to the power of Social, where we are unleashing all of those human batteries that Lee Bryant talked about a few years back into changing not just the workplace, but also ourselves as part of our society!

      The true form, shape and impact of Leadership, if you ask me, too! 🙂

      PS. Thanks a lot for sharing the link to your side! Subscribed already to it and look forward to further conversations! Thanks again for dropping by and for the lovely comments!

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