On Saturday morning, a guest attending our winter youth retreat, asked me if she could get hand lotion in our camp store. I wasn’t 100% sure if that was something we carried, but I could see it was important to her dry, chapped hands. I told her I was confident we’d be able to get her some, either way. But I wasn’t sure how. If I have to, I’ll run home and get her some.
A few minutes later, I ran into her again inside the store. She had asked Terri, our store manager, about the hand lotion—which apparently we did not carry. But then she showed me the small bottle of hand lotion that Terri had given her from her own purse. She wasn’t going to let dry hands distract this guest from a great experience at camp.
Next week I’ll be presenting a workshop at a Christian Camp and Conference Association gathering here in Michigan called, “Say Yes to the Guest.” My premise is that good customer service starts when we say yes.
So, in preparation for my workshop, I’m embarking on an experiment: for the next two weeks, I intend to answer yes exclusively. Sure, there are risks associated with the experiment, but I’m confident we can all learn something.
Here are some of the things I expect to see:
- Some people will try to take advantage.
- It won’t always be easy.
- I will be forced to think about how it can be done instead of if it can be done.
- I’m going to have to delegate, empower and equip others more.
- People love to hear yes.
Of course, there is some fine print. I will not be saying yes to ideas, beliefs or requests when it would compromise my morals, values or integrity. I won’t always be agreeing with others, but I will be agreeing to serve them and help to meet their needs.
Think about how many times you said no yesterday. No to your children or spouse. No to a coworker or customer. No to a dream. No to God. How would things have turned out differently had you said yes instead?
Yes to playing in the snow with your child. Yes to some help getting dinner ready. Yes to someone at work who needed a hand or help thinking through a challenge. Yes to a customer with a genuine need.
But too often, the tendency is to protect, to filter, to use caution, and to say no. We’ve been trained since we were young to just say no. We don’t know how we’ll follow through. We may be concerned that we won’t have the recourses or time to deliver. We may fail.
Claude Hickman, who travels and speaks with The Traveling Team mobilizing college students to missions, challenges them to respond to God’s call to missions by first “putting your yes on the table, and then allowing God to put it on the map.”
So we may not yet know how, where, or exactly what we’re being asked to do—or called to—but we’re willing to say yes and then figure it out.
I’ll keep you posted during my experiment. And be sure to share your stories, as you absolutely, positively always say yes.