Put a SMILE on Your Face

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If you are going to provide BAD service at least SMILE 🙂

Nothing frustrates me more than bad service and there seems to be no shortage of it these days. To make matters worse, those that provide terrible service are unpleasant as well. Recently, I was in BJ’s Wholesale, pretty close to closing time. On the way out of the store, I went by the Subway counter to buy a Minute Maid Sugar-Free Lemonade. I throw this detail in because I don’t want anyone to think I was trying to get a 6’ party sub or feed an entire elementary school. All of the lights were on and the individual behind the counter appeared to be cleaning up so I was unsure if they were open or closed. Finally, after standing there for a few minutes, the employee looked up at me and snarled, “Closed”. Not, “I’m sorry, we’re closed.” just “Closed.” one word that he almost spat at me when he said it.

A few days later I was at Market Basket buying groceries. With an 18 year old and a 22 year old in the house you know the bill wasn’t small. One of the last items the cashier scanned through rang in twice so she needed a void. Standing, literally four feet from her, was the front-end manager. She tried three times to call her over. Unfortunately, the woman was engrossed in a conversation with a friend or significant other so the cashier’s request went unheeded. Finally, the cashier put her “need assistance” light on to get the manager’s attention and that worked. I paid with my debit card in order to get cash back but the only thing the cashier said was debit or credit. I said debit and the next thing I knew, she handed me a receipt and never asked if I wanted any cash back. There was a part of me that wanted to say something to her, or her supervisor, but her entire mood was so unpleasant I decided it wasn’t worth it. To be fair at Market Basket, this behavior is the exception not the rule. Usually, the staff I encounter is very helpful and friendly.

Juxtapose that with a little restaurant in the town of McMinnville, Oregon where the service was outstanding. Our server, despite having three groups come in at virtually the same time, was fantastic. At the end of the meal, he asked us to fill out the customer survey so he could find out how he was doing and what he could do to improve. We were shocked; he had worked there less than a week. Along with the quality service he provided, he smiled and looked genuinely happy to be working there.

Shortly after my Market Basket experience, I went to Hannaford Market near the Alton Traffic Circle in New Hampshire. What a completely different experience from Market Basket! I was greeted by a cashier who actually smiled, asked me how my day was going, and if I had found everything I needed. Another huge difference, from some of my previous experiences, was that she smiled the entire time, as if she actually enjoyed her job.

Clearly, I am not advocating poor service for any business. Unless you are in the enviable position of having a product that no one else has, most of us are really in the service industry. You need to make customers and clients feel welcome and important, not an intrusion on your day. Regardless of the profession or business you are in, nobody wants to work with a grouch. Standing at your office, retail location or onsite with a client, with your arms folded and an annoyed expression on your face will set a negative tone for any interaction. Try smiling and looking like you want to be there. Trust me, it isn’t that hard to do and it brings positive results.

If you are going to provide lousy service, then SMILE…it’s the least you can do.

Put a SMILE 🙂 on your FACE!

Ken Abrahams