I have lost count of all of the different “types” of customer service and sayings about what customer service should be. Oh, and we can also add the different words for customer service and the actual customer! In the end, they all say the same thing, be nice to the people or companies that give you money.

When I was in Hawai’i, Oahu to be exact—and just so you know, there is no ‘w’ in O’ahu. I was there for a speaking gig and then magically turned it into a vacation. It was my first time there and when I travel to a new place I love to learn the culture—the local heritage, traditions, beliefs and my favorite: meet the locals! To me, those are more exciting than any tourist trap.

While there were many things to see and do and many that we did, I would like to share with you a presentation that I attended on my first day and the inspiration it gave me.

I attended a presentation called, “Hawai’i: A Cultural Primer on its Evolution and Diversity” given by Peter Apo. He shared with us the real story of Hawai’i that often isn’t told. The media’s interpretation of what Hawai’i is supposed to be has created perhaps the most falsified, captivating, and dreamy brand in the world. What’s worse is that many people would rather believe the falsified one than take the time to learn and embrace the true magnificence offered by the islands, its people, its cultures, and its traditions—and see what Hawai’i is today!

Regardless, I am not here to judge.

I don’t know about you, but I was taught that Aloha means hello and good-bye. Hello and good-bye are ways they use the word aloha to embrace and practice its true meaning. Alo means to be in one’s presence, and ha means the breath of life. Together, aloha means the unconditional extension of friendship and trust. It’s the taking of responsibility for others—for those that you do not know.

Aloha is more than a handshake because a handshake was created to demonstrate a laying down of weapons while still keeping your opponent at distance. The true way to say Aloha is to exchange the breath or with a kiss.

I don’t know about you, but to me aloha sounds far more effective, sincere, and by far the best explanation of what customer service should be that I have ever heard. Customer service or whatever term you wish to use, is truly about taking responsibility for your customers’ experience of doing business with you by extending to them friendship and trust. Your company’s brand is mutually built and valued by customers, employees, the market and the company itself.

“Hawai’i is the place the world is striving to be.” President John F. Kennedy

 

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