Thursday, August 7, 2008

Service With a Smile

Remember when service was an integral part of the shopping experience? Say you went to get gas in your car. Young men would literally run out to fill your tank, wash your windows, put air in your tires, and smile happily because you were gracing their place of business. If you went to a restaurant, someone greeted you, led you to a clean table, brought you water without being asked, and smiled warmly at you because you were gracing their place of business. Clothes or shoes shopping - someone rushed over to see if they could help you in any way at all, sat you down to put the contemplated shoe on your foot, Cinderella-style, or came to the dressing room door to see if they could fetch another size or color for you - yep, all with a smile.

Well, that's the way fond nostalgia remembers it anyway, especially in comparison with the recent past, when surly clerks glared at you for taking up space in their department, if they glanced your way at all. They shrugged their shoulders at your difficulties, ran from your approach, didn't know where anything was and didn't care to look or inquire of their clueless co-workers, and certainly did not smile at you for choosing their store to shop in. The attitude often seemed to be, Of all the stores in all the shopping centers in all the towns in our State, why'd ya have to come bother me!

But now times are tough. There are so many shops, so few shoppers! Gone are the days when the stores needed the employees badly enough to overlook certain deficiences, like promptness, courtesy, attention to customers. I have been becoming more and more aware that clerks all over town are - yes - SMILING at me! Asking me if they can help me, and then actually doing so! Rushing over to help me without even being asked! Giving unsolicited assistance with knowledge and courtesy! I actually enjoy shopping again. The whole atmosphere has changed, and I don't know whether the formerly surly ones are beginning to truly appreciate their jobs, or whether they have been let go and the hard-working, knowledgeable, friendly clerks that were always there somewhere are being given a chance to shine. I just know I really appreciate the new attitude toward customers, and I, for one, want to give a very sincere "Thank You!" to all of you in the often thankless service industry.


this is my patch said...

I feel customer service is a lost art in the UK, especially when it comes to telephone helplines. I won't go there, it is just too depressing! On the other hand in many of our supermarkets they are adopting the 'have a nice day approach', almost to the point of wanting to become your best friend! I would be happy if a happy median could be reached between the two, with the knowledge that help and a friendly face or voice is there if you so need it. x

Cherdecor said...

Yep, even my dentist called me at home last night. Even though it is all about money, I still like it!

It is tough to be in the service industry these days because customers are not nice so they have an extra hard job trying to please people.

I'm with you though, I appreciate the service.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

I hadn't noticed a change yet, but we aren't doing much shopping lately because it's been a tight year.

I'll keep my eye open for it now.

Interesting post.

daffy said...

I think they are just being nice again because our current economic climate is so bad they need to keep us sweet! Of course I may be just an old cynic.

jenniferw said...

I am always so grateful for a courteous shop or store clerk. I know their job is not easy -- because I have done that job -- but neither is it overly difficult to, as you say, smile and ask a person if they require assistance. In fact, when I worked in retail I loved it when there was someone to talk to and help. It made the day go faster. So yes ... I will give my repeat business to a place (and there are several in my town) where I am treated like an honored guest. It makes shopping fun!

BTW I'm adding you to my blogroll dear ... been meaning to do it but just keep gettting distracted. You've got an excellent blog here!

thedailydish said...

I thought it was just me, but I've noticed this TOO! BRING IT ON. I love being able to go to a store and have a friendly person acknowledge my request instead of passing me off like a chore.

Sew Anyway said...

Excellent topic, my thoughts exactly.

I printed out a coupon for "get a roll of film developed for free" at Walgreens. (not a place I go often). But what a deal.

I thought while I was there I would get another roll done as well. The man at the counter was kind, smiled, amiable and then he took out another coupon from under the counter! Two rolls of film for free with great service!

I wouldn't mind going there more often. Shoot, anyone would be a loyal customer with that kind of treatment.


nikkipolani said...

I think my expectations of service are fairly low, so when I do get good service, it is really a treat :-)

Charli and me said...

Yes, I have noticed the change too. It's really nice when you get a smile, or some type of acknowledgement.
I have to say though that I stopped in a 7-eleven store recently three days in a row to get a newspaper and all three days the clerk just held out her hand and said nothing to me. When I said good morning she sort of grumped and when I said have a nice day she said nothing. It was amazing. Obviously I don't go there any more. I do remember the good old days when people knew their neighbors and everyone seemed so much more friendly than today. That's what I love about blogging. Everyone is so nice.

Country Girl said...

It's about time things began to change, but it's sad that the economy had to suffer to let it happen. I worked for several years in the service industry when I was young, and it very often is a thankless job!

Thank you for the kind things you say on my blog. Makes it worth it.

Sara said...

Hmmmm, I'll have to pay more attention next time I'm in the mall. Interesting post.

Last summer when we drove up the coast, we discovered that in Oregon it is actually illegal to pump your own gas! You have to stay in your car and let the attendant get it for you. Talk about memories from bygone era!

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