I had dinner with two of the three Sasslets the other night. It is hard to still call them “Sasslets” as my daughter, the youngest, just left her teens behind by turning twenty. Yes, she’s been Daddy’s little girl for twenty years, and that’s how long I’ve been wrapped around her finger.
While I still find the opportunity to occasionally play referee to sibling spats, dinner with the kids is now mostly filled with adult conversation, increasingly about “work” and the work world. I have to admit, it has been very rewarding to take on the additional parenting role of “career mentor” along with all the other many hats us dads (and moms) wear. This night, however, the teacher was the one getting schooled, as I gained some valuable insights from the experiences my kids were having at their respective jobs.
Service With A Smile
Both Olivia and her oldest brother Zach work in the restaurant business and were sharing stories from their respective companies. They both work for successful chains, one a coffee, baked goods and sandwich place, and the other a higher end Italian Restaurant. In both cases, it was interesting for me to hear the kids talk about how strongly customer focused their employer organizations were. In both cases, coincidentally, it is company policy (strictly enforced) to refer to customers as “guests” at all times, and to treat them as guests. To quote my son, “as if they were guests in our house.” From the conversation, it was clear that this customer – er, guest centric mindset was being deeply ingrained in my kids’ burgeoning business ethic. Not a bad thing, I thought.
Be Our Guest
Then I realized that most businesses could similarly learn from this hospitality mentality. Working in the mobile Internet and mobile entertainment space, I more often refer to the people who visit my company’s web sites or download our apps as “users.” Perhaps “guest” is a much better way to think of our customers. After all, in today’s world practically every industry is in the service business, as products, information, apps and entertaiment all vie for the attention of consumers, and isn’t someone willing to give you their attention the same as being your guest?
What do you think? What have you learned from your kids lately?
Jeff SassÂ is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 23, Ethan, 21 and Olivia, 20). Â He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast. Â You can see more of Jeffâ€™s writing atÂ Sassholes!Â andÂ Social Networking RehabÂ and you can listen to Jeff on theÂ Cast of DadsÂ podcast.