Monday, January 30, 2012

How Good Customer Service Became a Connection

Three months ago I was shopping for a birthday gift for a friend.  My basic idea was some sort of barware/cocktail items.  With that I went in to a store known for interesting housewares.

I wandered and explored seeing some possibilities, but waiting for something to really jump out at me.  Then along came a smiling store employee, "Can I help you find something?"

"Actually, yes," I answered as I explained my loose idea of what I was looking for.

She could have said, "Well, you're in the right section so let me know if you have any questions."  She could have pointed to a few options and left me to go it alone.

But she didn't.  She asked questions about my friend's style and the colors she likes.  She asked what barware items my friend already had.  Then she walked around the store with me giving me some ideas.

As if that weren't helpful enough, noticing the stroller I was pushing through the tight maze of their store shelving, she said things like, "Come this way. This aisle is a bit wider," and "You wait here, I'll bring it to you."

She was amazing.

As I was checking out, she was pulled away (an alarm had previously gone off accidentally and the fire department showed up to check that everything was okay).

Later that afternoon, I realized that I never got to thank her for her help.  I could have let it go.  How often do we do just that?  But she provided such good service and I wanted to make sure she knew that, so I called the store.

I explained to the man who answered that there was a young woman who helped me that afternoon who was dynamite.  I described her and he said, "Oh yes, she's great!"  He put her on the phone, I thanked her, told her I appreciated how attentive she was, and then I went on my merry way and she on hers.

I haven't thought about it much until this weekend.  I was back in that same store searching for another gift and when I went to the register, there she was.  I told my husband, "Hey!  This is the girl that was so helpful a few months ago."

She said, "I thought that was you!"  We laughed.  Then we exchanged phone numbers.

The magic here is that I just wrote about connection last Monday, setting the intention to truly connect with the person in front of me whether it is my own family member or a cashier (yes, I actually said that).  At the end of the week, I had a new connection.  Beautiful synchronicity.

Now I have a challenge for you.  (No, you don't have to exchange phone numbers with someone you meet in a store.)  The challenge is this: thank a stranger.  It might be the person who hands you your morning coffee with a smile, the restaurant server who keeps your iced tea topped off, the toll booth worker who makes sure change lands in your hand rather than on the street, or the passerby who retrieves your dropped scarf.

Acknowledging someone is a powerful way to connect.  Plus you get the feel good feelings of doing something nice and they get the feel good feelings of someone being nice to them.  It's a win-win.

Who will you thank this week?





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