Customer Experience Personal Development

Rejection, Olympic Doughnuts and Amazing Customer Service

Just watched this heartfelt (and funny) TEDx talk by Jia Jiang, where he talks about overcoming his fear of rejection by indulging in ‘rejection therapy*‘, i.e. building desensitization to rejection by putting himself in situations where the most likely outcome was going to be a ‘no’, for 100 days.

Like most people watching the video, I paused to check out the Krispy Kreme (Rejection Therapy Day 3) encounter…and wasn’t disappointed.

Working in marketing, and particularly in the hospitality industry, Jia’s talk and the Olympic Doughnut request have a lot to teach us…for me, two lessons in particular shine through:

Rejection makes us bolder, better and stronger: We all have an innate fear of rejection…the pain and shame of being turned away, of failing, of looking silly is something most of would do anything to avoid (perhaps not in the same league as death, taxes and public speaking…but disconcertingly close). One thing that’s clear about Jia’s experiences is that there are numerous missed opportunities when we succumb to our fears and presumptions. As with the example of the flower he wanted to plant in a stranger’s backyard, if he hadn’t persisted and dug into the ‘why’, he wouldn’t have walked away with a surprising referral and an ultimately positive outcome.

The greatest sales people are tenacious and have learned to probe, plus desensitize themselves to rejection…for marketers to be successful, we need to find the same tenacity. Unless you are in a predominantly creative field (e.g. Ad design, Creative Agencies), it is quite likely that the level of rejection you encounter on a daily basis is somewhat limited. And playing it ‘safe’ typically leads to mediocre, forgettable outcomes. Marketing and rejection therapy could be just the thing to take your ideas and efforts to the next level. Plus working in an organization that views failure as an opportunity to learn just makes it all that much easier to become bolder, better and stronger.

Every service encounter is an opportunity to go beyond and leave an indelible imprint: The hospitality industry at its core is still very much about human beings connecting with other human beings to instill a sense of belonging, recognition and empowerment. In the hotel, restaurant and travel industry, we come across ‘Krispy Kreme Olympic Doughnut’ moments of truth all too often…and there are two likely outcomes. One, sadly, results in disappointment…and the other, in moments that aren’t easily forgotten. Interestingly enough, all that’s needed to deliver that ‘wow’ outcome is empathy, a little kindness and pride in what we do.

* Rejection Therapy is originally a game created by Jason Comely

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