Episode 364: May I Take Your Photo?

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This week, Dr. Misner provides an example of how great customer service leads to referrals. During his recent trip to the BNI National Conference in Nashville, he stayed at the Omni hotel and had many meals sent up by room service. The employee who delivered most of these meals was named Leslie. She was courteous, friendly, helpful, and attentive–but without calling attention to herself.

Dr. Misner didn’t really notice how good the service was until the day he had ten BNI directors in his suite preparing for a group photo. Not only did Leslie offer to take the picture, but she took a photo with every single person’s camera or phone, with no sign of impatience, taking the time to make sure everyone had a record of the occasion.

Great service like that gets noticed–even by harried conference organizers. Dr. Misner took the time to write a blog post containing a public testimonial for Leslie.

Tell us about your great customer service experience, especially with BNI members, and why you think it’s important for referral marketing.

Read the original post on Dr. Misner’s Business Networking Blog.

Brought to you by Networking Now.

Complete Transcript of BNI Podcast Episode 364 –

Hello everyone and welcome back to The Official BNI Podcast brought to you by NetworkingNow.com, which is the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. I am Priscilla Rice, and I am coming to you from Live Oak Recording Studio in Berkeley, CA. I am joined on the phone today by the Founder and Chairman of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner. Hello Ivan. How are you and where are you?

Hey, I am doing great and I am literally leaving Portugal for BNI. I did some events here and spoke to members. I am on my way to Spain, my first visit to Spain, so I am very excited to meet BNI members. BNI members are so similar all around the world. They are so hungry for networking and referrdelival marketing.

It has been a great visit to Europe. A few more weeks. I am headed to Croatia next.

Oh, great. That sounds so great. Well, what do you want to share with us today?

Well, a few months ago, I was at the US national conference for BNI in Nashville, Tennessee, and everyday, room service would come up and deliver my meals. So what I want to talk about with”May I Take Your Photo?” is a lesson in great customer service.

I think one of the ways that you really get referrals is you give good customer service with your products or services. I want to give an example of someone who just kind of went out of her way to give good customer service. It was so simple and so tactful that I just didn’t quite see it at first, but it was very consistent.

Room service would come up, and often, it was as a meeting in my suite was wrapping up. There was this young lady by the name of Leslie. I am going to see if we can put her photo here in this podcast. She was an employee who most often made the deliveries during the last part of my stay for this conference. One of these days, I had a group of about 10 BNI directors in my suite.

They were kind enough to give me a Givers Gain plaque, which was made by local members out of automobile license plates. It had all the letters cut out. A three was turned backwards as an “E”. It was really a cute idea. They gave this to me and they started to gather around to get a photo, and Leslie said, “Would you like me to take a picture for you?”

Now, that is not a big surprise. Employees at hotels and restaurants have become accustomed to taking pictures of lots of people going through their venues, right? You see this all the time. Here is the unusual part. She then said to everyone- there was like 10 people- “Okay, everybody give me all your cameras. I will take a photo with each and every one of them.”

And then she dutifully accepted each camera and each phone and then, one by one, took photographs, making sure that everyone got their own picture. While I was watching all of this, it struck me that not only did she not act put out, by having one camera after another given to her- she happily took each picture patiently and professionally and she smiled and she chatted while she took each and every photo as though she were taking photos of her own family.

I couldn’t help but think that there was some boss somewhere wondering what the heck was taking her so long? She was delivering one meal, not 10. This meeting was wrapping up. 10 people were leaving. I was there alone. I was going to grab a bite to eat real quick before the next meeting, so she brought up one meal and then took all time taking these pictures.

Well, the truth is she was giving the guests at her hotel a really, really good experience. It made me start to think about each trip that Leslie made up to the room. She was courteous each time she delivered the food. She was friendly. She was helpful. She was attentive. I think I was so wrapped up in the business of running a conference that I don’t think I really noticed how good she was until it started winding down.

For the record, if her supervisor from the Omni hotel in Nashville is listening, please know that Leslie was working diligently at creating a great customer experience, so much so that I actually told the hotel manager I thought that Leslie should be teaching customer service training. She is that good.

I thanked Leslie for her stellar service. I think it’s a great example of how in BNI, if you want referrals giving good customer service is so important. And if you do a good job- and it doesn’t have to be an amazing thing. She just took some photos. But it really struck me in the way that she did it and she was just so pleasant.

Then I started thinking about all of the other things that she did. There are so many people day in and day out just doing their job and doing it well. Doing it well. That is why I think BNI works so well. Those people who are out there day in and day out just doing their job and doing it well makes it easy for all of us to refer each other because we know there are people out there doing a great job and by doing that great job people will start talking about you more and more in the context of BNI because we are trained to talk about each other in positive ways.

I just think this is a great example of how small things can give your customer a great experience. And that is my message for today.

That’s great. I like that.

If you are listening to this podcast, I would like for you to share a story that you might have about someone who gave you a great customer experience, particularly if they are a BNI member, make sure to name them so they get a little credit. Tell us about any experience that you got that you think was a great customer service experience and why you think customer service is so important for referrals, which I think is obvious, but I think it is good to hear from others.

I think it’s the absolute key to reaping business.



That’s all I have for today, Priscilla. Thank you.

Okay, perfect. Thank you so much. I would just like to remind the listeners that this podcast has been brought to you by NetworkingNow.com, which is the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. Thank you so much for listening. This is Priscilla Rice, and we hope you will join us next week for another exciting episode of The Official BNI Podcast.


  1. says

    Thank you for this podcast. I try to remember this every day, to try to make every client feel special, to make their day easier, to give them a smile if they don’t have one.

  2. keith says

    Its the everyday folks doing everyday jobs, who make a difference. More so because it is expected of them to always be courteous, even when the client is rude, because the client is the one paying for the services. So the paying client is excused for inappropriate behaviour while the attendant is chastised for even an error or stumble. Well done Leslie.

  3. Malcolm lves says

    Ivan that is a great story! But there is more, and it is about leadership from the top down. I would bet my next Jaguar parts delivery, that that hotel is a great place to work all the staff are happy to be there, (ever stayed where the staff wished they were somewhere else?) are motivated and all do their jobs well! And most importantly the hotel is probably very successful!

Solutions-focused comments are welcome