"High Achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation." - Charles Kettering

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

An Upside to a Down Economy

Last week, my kids wanted to go Christmas shopping for their friends. Naturally, this involved going to at least four stores in addition to the shoe store we had to visit to buy b-ball shoes for the two younger kids. Every store we went to had stellar customer service. I didn't even notice this, my 16 year old did. As I thought back on this experience, I could honestly say that I never had such good service in my whole life! She was right. Two stores even apologized for not having what we were looking for, but directed us to the nearest store to purchase it. That's what I call service.

My friends believe it's because of the economy forcing employers to be more mindful of the "service" aspect of their job. I'm more inclined to believe it's because the employers can be so picky about who they hire when they get 50-100 applicants for one job opening. Whatever the reason, the sheer pleasantness of the shopping experience was incredible. I was sick and not really feeling in the holiday spirit. Shopping is a task I normally avoid at all costs but that's not an option this time of year. The realization after we collapsed at Rocky Roccoco's that the shopkeepers were trying to make our experience the best possible one while we were there really picked up my spirits. That and laughing at the woman who was complaining about how spicy the pizza was. Really!?! You order pizza and complain when it's spicy? What did you expect? Sheesh woman.

So, if you really want to get good service at the mall, go to Hot Topic, The Finish Line, The Pottery Barn, Wisconsin Craft Market, Hancock Fabrics and don't forget to finish it off with the family meal deal at Rocky Roccoco's at Westgate Mall. These people know how to lure customers back to their store, truly the meaning of customer service.

How exactly does this connect to education? I'm willing to wager that a lot of these kind folks who helped us last Friday are college students and maybe college graduates. They are getting another important part of their education working at a department store during the holidays. People skills, problem solving under duress, kindness were all delivered with a congenial appearance. Any employer will be lucky to keep such employees. As these young folks grow in their careers, they may not realize how important this part of their career was to strengthening their overall marketability. They might even complain bitterly about how hard working with the public was back in the day. But to these young men and women who helped us all so much last Friday, thank you for your kindness and thoroughly professional way you helped us make the perfect purchases. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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