|"How may I help you?"|
For the first time ever I am avoiding holiday shopping in the stores or at least plotting how to get in and out with the least hassle. I've taken stories of traffic jams at the mall and no place to park to heart. The pragmatic side thinks, yes, this is a very good thing for the economy. The other side is loving no shipping fees at Target and J Crew.
I'm also aware and have been the victim of rude, uninterested salespersons who couldn't seem to care less all I've gone through to get there. This is a double-edged sword as I am also in the service industry myself, and retail is my bag. I know that whatever the service it needs to be delivered with a smile, eye contact, some positive chit-chat and a meaningful closure (not just a "have a nice day").
I carry out my duties sincerely and enthusiastically. A ham at heart, I love the fact that all the world's a stage. The more my efforts to serve you are appreciated, the better I perform— the more balls I will throw in the air, the more cherries added to the sundae.
The other day at the Lovely Boutique Where I Work a customer remarked, "You've been here a long time, haven't you?". "Since you were in elementary school," I replied.
Not true of course. I might have been in college when she was in elementary school. The fact that she acknowledged I was even there endeared me to her as no other. Suddenly she was a friend. I gave her even more of my utmost attention. Although my shift ended, I ran about gathering camisoles and cardigans for her.
I know you've had a hard day. I know you blame me when the button is missing or your size is gone. I would blame me too. I know you've waited in line way too long for your sale t-shirt. I know you are second-guessing yourself on that holiday gift before it's even been rung up. But do you really have to check your emails while you're checking out? Or talk on the phone so our only contact is gestures and nods? Some interruptions are unavoidable, I know. But it's nice to know that you know that I notice.
There is a lot we service folk can and should do to make your experience outstanding and not merely tolerable. We are never off the hook on that. My suggestion is that this is really a dance that takes two to tango.
A little kindness to your local shop girl goes a long way. To riff on Sally Field, "You seem to like me, you really seem to like me". We will jump through hoops for that.