Are we as helpful as we can be to visitors to our towns? Here's Craig Arthur, author of MAKING ADS WORK my good friend and partner from Australia with his take on helpfulness.
I was backpacking Europe with two mates from Australia. The day had started well. We left Dover, England on the early vehicular ferry bound for the port city of Calais, France. We were the only ones silly enough to sit on the outside rear deck of the ferry. It was the middle of winter and the day was freezing. However, the attraction to view the white cliffs of Dover disappearing over the horizon was far greater than the bitter bite of the cold. And I have to admit, after the first two or three Baileys Irish Crèmes hit my stomach, the cold didn’t seem to matter...
The voyage over the English Channel was pleasant but mostly unmemorable. I guess the Baileys could have been the reason for that.
The journey from Calais to Paris was by train. Talk of home, and our travel plans for Europe were the major topics of conversation. Spirits were high, thanks mostly to the effects of the Baileys. The well read travel books and glossy brochures, now sitting lonely at home, had pumped up my expectations. Paris and fun here we come.
Not long later…
It was now dark and gloomy. Four hours of walking, only to discover, “no vacancy” signs hanging from youth hostel doorways. We still did not have a bed for the night. Cold, footsore and depressed, I sat slouched in a Paris gutter. The romance of backpacking Europe was fast losing its appeal. The travel books didn’t mention this!
Then out of the freezing blanket of darkness, a young local guy walked by and in English said, “Hostel?” Without waiting for an answer he signaled us to follow. Relief flowed through my body like a shot of morphine. We followed at a distance, not through apprehension, but from the pure weight of our backpacks. (I had trouble in those days with the concept of traveling light. Talk to my wife, Angela, and she will tell you I still do.) For fifteen minutes we scrambled along the cobblestone back streets of central Paris. A vivid neon sign on a trendy brick and glass building yelled, ‘Le Musketeer Youth Hostel’. Le Musketeer was a palace compared to the hostels we had visited earlier that night. And it had vacancies. Life was beginning to look a whole lot better. Like a video game hero, my enthusiasm gauge was back to one hundred percent. I had a bed for the night. A simple pleasure I now never take for granted.
Not stopping for thanks, our new young friend gave a nod, and in an instant was gone.
The selfless action of a total stranger who went out of his way to help, completely transformed my night, and my trip.
That night happened sixteen years ago, and my memory of our unexpected helper is still crisp and fresh. Since that experience I have always gone out of my way to help tourists in Australia who appear lost or in need of assistance. It is my way of thanking and paying back my nameless French friend.
Like me that night, customers worldwide are desperately searching for people willing to help them, to solve their problems, to go beyond what is expected.
Do customers leave your business with positive associations and lasting memories?
Is your business delivering the help?
Wizard of Ads® Australia
"From where you are in business, to where you want to be... Wizard of Ads will help you GET THERE."
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