Customer service is dead; long live customer service!

Call me jaded, but customer service is dead.

How often do you walk into a store or restaurant only to be ignored? Not a single “Howdy, can I help you within earshot.” (I’ve worked in retail so I feel that I can complain about such things – kind of like making ethnic- or religious-toned jokes when you are a member of the ethnicity or religion you’re poking fun at.)

I’ve always believed that even if you’re doing a crappy job, you might as well smile. Smiling makes it seem less crappy. Lying to yourself makes the job more bearable.

It’s to the point now when, on the rare occasion, I stumble upon a smiling someone who is good at their job and glad that I chose to patronize their place of work that I’m taken aback. Such was the case the other day at the Palm Beach airport.

My breath turns rotten when I fly. I think it’s a result of Cinnabon and stale cabin air. I always try to carry gum, but forgot to this time. Not wanting to make a poor first impression on my host meeting me at the airport, I stopped by a mid-hall kiosk.

“The airport is a gum free zone,” the smiling woman told me, “but we’ve got some mints over there.”

I picked up a pack of Certs. I didn’t care what type of mints I bought; I just wanted them to be minty. That’s not too much to ask from a mint, is it?

I approached the register to pay.

“We have a special on Breathsavers today.” She reached behind her and grabbed a small dish. “The Certs are $1.25. These are only a quarter.”

She made my day. She saved me $1 and I could have given her a hug.

I seriously considered telling her how much I appreciated the great service, but she had a job to do – there were others to be helped – and she was damn good at it.

 
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