You Call That Service???

You Call That Service???

Years ago I started playing a game with service providers. For instance, I would pick the crabbiest looking checker at the grocery store and get in their line. To give you an example of my worth as a customer, 15 years ago I had three growing, sports playing sons at home and was in the top 100 of revenue producing customers at that store. The extensive hand written note from the manager during the holidays was the tip off, he didn’t know if I was #1 or #99. It was not really a distinction I wanted.

Back to the crabby “service” providers.

The game was this - by the time you hand me my change, I’m going to get you to smile, and I never failed; ever.  I would say things like, “It looks like you’re having a rough day”; anything to get them talking. I would hear all kinds of things, bad boss, long hours, kids, husband, blah, blah, blah. All the reasons why not, why they couldn’t / wouldn’t provide a great customer experience. One time there were 2 checkers helping with my two overflowing carts of groceries. The 2 of them talked nonstop through the entire process of ringing me up, never making eye contact with me once or acknowledging me in any way.  Finally, one of them turned to me and said “That will be $357.48”…

Really???  That’s it? That’s all you’ve got? Where do you think your paycheck comes from? Even if I had spent just 50 cents, you still could have been nice to me, but you choose not to. That’s right… you choose.

Every interaction we have, no matter the circumstances, we make the choice of how we are going to be. And here’s the thing; it doesn’t have anything to do with the other person; it’s about you. If you want to be grumpy and miserable, it’s fine – just know that it is you that made that choice, and please don’t use the lousy weather as another excuse.

Btw – when I play the “I’m going to make you smile whether you want to or not” game… just guess who gets the most out of it – yep!  J

About the Author

Sarah’s latest book published by McGraw-Hill is titled Business Improv. It includes 75 activities on all aspect of business from Leadership skills to Emotional Intelligence. Sarah’s Business Improvisation based approach to learning has transformed work environments, changed lives and moved organisations forward. Her experience with the challenges leaders face allows her to help develop strategies and implementation plans that transform leaders into storytellers that move people to action. Her work with front line employees helps them communicate in a way that builds trust and collaboration. Sarah has taught Business Leadership to Executive MBA students at UCLA Anderson School of Management, Duke University Fuqua School of Business, Columbia University and the American University Cairo.

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