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The Power of Small Gestures in the World of HR and Customer Service

October 11, 2023

Author: Gabe Gulick


In the business world, it’s often the grand gestures and ambitious plans that garner attention.

But from my years of experience in the customer service domain, I’ve learned that it’s sometimes the smallest acts, executed with passion and commitment, that have the most profound impact.


My Journey from Car Rentals to HR

Before I embarked on my career in the Staffing and Employment sector, I spent a memorable 11 years at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, aiding individuals predominantly on their not-so-good days. Let’s face it, nobody leaps out of bed on a sunny morning with excitement to rent a car. The very act usually stems from inconvenient situations like car accidents, mechanical failures, or long days of travel.

Given this background, my team’s primary mission was to transform the customer experience. We incorporated simple elements like handshakes, friendly chats, and a formal dress code to set a positive tone.

My journey was not without its challenges, however. Although my team maintained decent customer service scores, there were times they dipped, prompting a hunt for innovative solutions. This brings me to an insightful story from my then-General Manager, Chris.


The Magic of “Express Checkout”

Chris had a simple yet effective technique he had previously implemented at a separate branch when clients called about their car returns. He’d reassure them about being enlisted for an “Express Checkout.” Contrary to what the title might suggest, it wasn’t a meticulously detailed plan. The method was merely turning the client’s rental ticket at a 90-degree angle so it stood out, making it easily accessible for the agent when the customer came in. This minor tweak not only elevated customer perception but led to significant bumps in our service scores.

Inspired, I implemented this at my branch. The result? A continuous climb in our ratings, placing us amongst the top in our region.


Applying the Lesson in HR

Drawing parallels from this experience, I work to find similar opportunities to leave a lasting positive impression on those I serve in the HR industry. Recently, amongst handling a multitude of interviews, I met Carl, a candidate undergoing our safety training.

Once he completed the training, I was wrapping up with him and noticed he was curious about all the points and clicks and typing on the computer that I was doing. So, I engaged him. I explained what I was doing and why it was important to us. As I was uploading his completion certificate for the safety training it was then that I remembered my old GM’s lesson. So I asked Carl,

“Would you like me to print this certificate off for you?”

A smile spread across Carl’s face, a sincere swelling of pride inflated his chest as he let me know that he would like that. I printed it off in color and presented it to him and shook his hand like we were at a year-end banquet awards ceremony. I could tell he was happy and this was a different experience for him than he expected when he walked in.

My recruiter and I discussed this tactic and how much it mattered to Carl. Since then, our team has incorporated this practice into our operations. It’s not mandated, nor is it formalized in any procedure. It’s a simple cultural shift, reminding us of the significance of small gestures.


In Conclusion

In the whirlwind of business operations, it’s easy to be consumed by financial figures, KPIs, or sales targets. While these metrics are undeniably vital, it’s essential to remember the human element. Sometimes, a seemingly insignificant gesture, backed by genuine passion, can create ripples of positive change. It’s these small touches that often leave the most lasting impression.


About Percipio Workforce Solutions

Percipio Workforce Solutions specializes in temporary employment services, workforce consulting, direct hire, and staffing. With 30+ years of industry experience, the Percipio Workforce Solutions team partners with ambitious company change makers to define their future workforce today, working tirelessly to create connections and enhance workforce opportunities for the industrial industry.


Contact Gabe Today!

Gabe Gulick
CEO, Temporary Employment Services
Des Moines, IA

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