Treat everyone like a CEO

I hope you didn’t try to click on the image as though it was a video. I do have the video and I’m happy to send it to you along with the link to where I learned even more about the man I’m sharing with you today. His name is Jermaine. Jermaine J. Jones. The clip I have is him telling everyone it’s what you do every day, all day, not just when someone’s watching. But believe me there were lots of people watching Jermaine and for good reason.

On a recent overnight stay in New York he was the highlight of my trip. Yes, the dinner was really good, the Broadway show very entertaining, the hotel quite nice and the crowds as expected or maybe even larger than usual, but it was this man – Jermaine whose story I’ll be sharing for a while. I’m chiming in! I’m on the “Jermaine is great” train.

Here’s the thing. I was recently traveling from New York to Connecticut with a group of CEOs. As we waited, there was some confusion about which track our train was leaving from – the monitor said one thing, but Jermaine said another. Loudly, he started helping people while sharing blips on customer service training and the “proof” of great customer service is what you do every day…not what you do in training! He was entertaining a crowd of anxious travelers who didn’t want to miss the already slightly behind schedule train. He had everyone in stitches. He was espousing how important it is to treat everyone like they’re a CEO. How appropriate. He had no idea we actually were a group of CEOs. He had no idea who we were, nor would he have cared. He treats everyone as if they are the most important customer there is! Jermaine could write a book on customer service. We should all hope he does and then we should read it.

I’m always intrigued when I encounter someone who clearly loves their job. As the saying goes, “Going the extra mile is never crowded, all lanes are flowing smoothly.” I’m intrigued and when possible, I want to learn more about the person so I can learn, be energized and influenced by them. That was certainly with Jermaine.  It’s clear that he goes the extra mile for the customer. Shouldn’t we all strive to deliver a perfect experience and inspire others to do the same? And isn’t it the small stuff that turns out to be the big stuff in positively impacting someone?

When I Googled Jermaine, I quickly learned that I wasn’t alone in my response to him. You can see what I mean on Amtrak’s Facebook.

“Incredible experience having Jermaine help out at Penn. I wrote an email to Richard Anderson, current CEO of Amtrak. I hope he got it. Every time I’m through Penn, I email Jermaine so I can say hi and get a quick blessing. My daily mantra is now WWJD–What would Jermaine Do? “

“Jermaine Jones made my departure from a recent trip to the city smooth, positive, and even fun. He is a joy- makes all around him feel better- even stressed out and lost travelers. An asset to Amtrak and our society.”

My message is don’t let people contaminate you unless it’s people like Jermaine. Strive to be an example yourself that can inspire others. Your customers, internal and external to your company deserve the best you can offer them. Think about what Jermaine practices – holding yourself accountable, even when no one is watching.  We can always find ways to pass blame to others, our jobs, even our industries for how we act or don’t act. Jermaine said that if you treat everyone you encounter as the CEO, you never have to change your behavior, because it becomes a lifestyle. Jermaine says character is built when no one is watching. We must always give our best, especially when no one is watching.

Jermaine was gracious enough to give me a business card when I asked his name, so I’ve told him personally about the impact he had. I hope you get a chance to meet Jermaine someday and in the meantime watch for others like him. They are out there. They are inspirational. They are many of you. Keep up the good work, no matter what and I know it’ll have impact like it did for me last week in Penn Station.