The idea for this story came from a conversation at a recent Servant-Leader gathering held in Milwaukee. The story is a quick read, with a little food for thought. Comments and sharing are always welcome.
In this post:
Story: Giving Thanks
I recently was in conversation with someone who prefers a certain fast food chain because the staff always address him in terms he finds highly respectful. It was ironic that I don’t support that same business due to their lack of respect for diverse people. I place a much higher value on the sincerity of the speaker than the vocabulary of the conversation. If I suspect someone is reading from the script they were given as part of customer service training, it makes me skeptical of the whole of the interaction. I think we’ve all been asked “Did you find everything you were looking for today?” only to encounter a blank stare when we honestly respond “No, I didn’t.”
My preferred method of assessing customer service is to reflect on the level of interaction I have with the service representative. The best way for me to do this is to try to put myself in the shoes of the person I’m interacting with. I don’t need to pretend we’re close personal friends but I am interested in having a sense of who I’m interacting with and how they see themselves as a part of the organization they are representing. I have learned to slide past the polite conversation and ask a question that I probably isn’t addressed in the employee customer service manual: How is your day going so far?; How late do you have to work today?; how long have you been working here?; etc. This often changes the conversation from customer and employee to individuals making their way through the day.
One of the biggest lessons learned from engaging with employees as individuals has been the ability to sort people from corporations. While some corporations have made a commitment to social responsibility, the majority place increasing shareholder equity as their first priority. This should be a surprise to no-one. People, however, work for all sorts of reasons and follow many paths to get where they are today. I regularly find the depth of knowledge and commitment to service held by the individual in front of me exceeds the job role and policies of their employer. These are the people who I am thankful to engage with as I go through my days. I try to make sure I let them know how grateful I am for their service. I regularly find a way to let their employer know how much I appreciate the superior service i’ve received.
I don’t need to hear “Yes sir, no sir” from a service employee. I’d much rather engage with a good hearted person making their way through their life. After all: “We’re all just walking each other home.” Ram Dass
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Mainstreaming on Main Street
Supporting organizational environments inclusive of persons with disabilities in professional/skilled settings
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Copyright 2019, Dan Lococo, All rights reserved