Misguided Intentions Detract from Customer Service

by Diane Berenbaum

Have you every noticed that some people are so focused on looking good that they actually succeed in doing the opposite?

Recently, I went to a new health food market and noticed that they had gift certificates for sale. I decided that this would be the perfect gift for a co-worker who rescued me from a hazardous situation (a flat tire on a major highway!) I asked a cashier how I could purchase one. She proceeded to search the entire store and finally found the only gift certificate left. She had never processed one before and called her manager for help.

The manager stormed over with a look of disgust on her face. As she stood in front of me she exclaimed to the cashier, "You should know how to do this - I showed you before!" I cringed and immediately glanced at the cashier with an empathic look. The inexperienced, gum-chewing manager proceeded to shout directions at the cashier and gave me a look that suggested, "You just can't get good help these days. Good thing I'm here - I know what I'm doing!"

Little did she know that I was thinking, "You don't know what you're doing! Don't you realize the impact you are having on this well-intentioned cashier? Don't you realize the impression you have made on me, a customer of this store?"

I was thankful when it was over. I had a quiet conversation with the cashier who told me that she has learned to ignore these comments and take pride in her work. I smiled, commended her, and always stop by to see her when I shop there.

I am still intrigued that this misguided manager thought she was doing the right thing by showing the cashier what to do and by showing me that she was indeed "the boss."

What we say and do to others in our workplace means so much, perhaps more than we ever know. Tune in to the daily interactions between people. You'll see that there are many small things you can do to make a positive impact on someone's day. They do not cost a lot, yet the payback is significant.
Diane Berenbaum is a long-time contributor and former editor of the MAGIC Service Newsletter. She has more than twenty-five years of experience as a consultant, coach, and facilitator. Diane is the co-author of How to Talk to Customers: Create a Great Impression Every Time with MAGIC® .
Before and After
Before and After
Just one "tragic" contact can influence your customers' perception of your company (and their buying decisions). Listen to the difference MAGIC® can make.