Monday, May 24, 2010

Manners, Politeness, and the "Horse People"

As I travel around my state or around the country, I wonder where has customer service gone? Is it a thing of the past? Is it a shift in society where people are just concerned with themselves (hint: Selfishness)? Didn't our parents teach us these things when we were young?  Am I the only one left who values these traits in an individual?

It is a rare instance when I'm cheerfully greeted by a sales clerk, had my change counted back correctly, and thanked for my business. My favorite sales clerk is the one that just looks at you and waits for you to speak, takes your order without repeating it back and then dumps your change in your hand. I typically smile at them and say thank you when I receive my order because I sooo want to ruin their day. I might get an "Uh huh" response if I'm lucky and they go back to sleep standing on their feet with there eyes open. These are the customer service reps that I refer to as the "Horse People" because they are obviously sleeping on their feet. I mean no offense to horses as they are incredible creatures, but most of these people could never run one and a quarter miles in two minutes (nor I or Usain Bolt) or twenty minutes for that matter, but this is just a mere reference to the great quality that horses have to be able to sleep while standing up.

Another one of my personal favorites is when I'm running late to catch a flight and people are standing on the left side of the moving walkway? I smile, say "Excuse me please." and they just look at me like I'm a freak and never budge. I finally get to my aisle seat on the airplane and the person that was assigned to the center seat is in my spot, "Just in case I didn't show up." I won't tell you the actual thoughts running through my head, but where are the manners, decency, and respect?

I know we live in a rushed society where we are always "connected" to the world, but as I see successful businesses and educational entities, there is a major commitment to customer service and interpersonal communication. These traits must be demanded from employees and students alike. Try it for several weeks and see if your business increases or if your classroom environment changes. One of my favorite and most popular college professors was also the most polite and gracious. It was an environment where a lot of learning took place, but we were individually thanked for our efforts and ideas, and for our commitment to learning. I have to admit that you wanted to learn, for many obvious reasons, but also not to disappoint the professor. I wanted his respect as well!

I did want to give a big thank you to Chick-fil-A restaurants for demonstrating that customer service isn't a totally lost trait!  Recently visited three different locations in three cities and the customer service was excellent!  What's going on with the training program at Chick-fil-A???  J.T.

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