This post isn’t really going to be about coffee. Not really.

I have a morning ritual; it consists of several steps that insure that I have a good day.  It involves first, getting out of bed and going to the window to check the weather, then going to the coffee pot and starting my coffee (which, if I’ve been good, is already set up and ready to go), and then I take my dog, Bianca, out for her walk… and yes, it must all be done in that order.

My favorite (at home) coffee is a brand called Chock Ful O’Nuts. It has the best coffee can ever and it tastes great and smells intoxicating.

I know at this point you’re thinking, “Katie, you liar, this post is about coffee!” but I promise I’m about to give you the “tie-back” as we like to say at work.

I’d like to talk about the morning I got my new can of coffee, it was actually Friday. I got up early so that I could hopefully beat the other million people in Dallas to the Kwik Kar nearest my home to get my oil changed. I had some anxiety about it, I think for a lot of us girls, most car maintainance errand are a bit intimidating. My sister actually helped me find this particular establishment and I chose to go with it because it really was extremely near my home and it had gotten some good reviews on the website we were looking at.

The people there were awesome, all of the men who were working were friendly and helpful and made me feel right at ease. They didn’t try to push extra services on me and they called me Ms. Brown, which I found charming. I was even more impressed that, running around in the midst of all of their mechanic hustle and bustle, was the owner of the business himself (I recognized him from his picture on the website). Having worked for my Dad, who cared a lot about over-seeing quality control and interacting with his clients,  I really appreciated seeing the owner there, answering phones and talking to people.  This location will get all of my business and I sent them an email thanking them for the wonderful experience.

Next I went to Target, I was looking for mats for the floor of my car (don’t get me started on why I needed mats in the first place). I found what I needed and went to check out, the girl waiting on me was reasonably friendly, but when I swiped my card it didn’t read the strip for some reason or another and she had no idea what to do and called a manager. The manager came over and looked at the screen and informed me that my card had been declined. To which I asked if it had been declined or had it not read the strip (I deal with this all of the time at work), to which he simply said, with a smirk, “DECLINDED”, sounding it out as if I were an idiot. I asked them to put the card in manually, and the manager refused at first, until I asked to speak to another manager, at which point he decided to humor me and then card went through just fine. Unfortunately, he was, apparently, the only manager available.

My last stop was Tom Thumb, I was a little flustered after my experience in Target and it seemed like I was struggling to find each item on my list. I must have looked very confused because while I was on the laundry detergent isle, desperately looking for Febreze for furniture, a young man approached me and asked what he could help me find. He searched high and low for the Febreze, even after I had found what I thought I needed. He said he wanted to be sure I was satisfied… and then, to my amazement, he asked what else he could help me find. I hate to admit that I was that lost in a grocery store, but that young man came back to check on me multiple times during my visit and walked me to products I couldn’t find, and never once did he act like I was stupid for not being able to find things myself, or like he’d rather be doing something else.  He was kind and I let his manager know what a great help he was.

I know I’ve talked about client service before, but I wanted to add a little something to what I’ve said in the past. I think it’s important for us, as clients, to always ask to speak to a manager when we’ve been given exceptional service or when we’ve been given exceptionally poor service. We forget to do both of these things and I think as a result what we end up with the majority of the time is mediocre to poor service.

I can say from personal experience, there is nothing quiet as rewarding as having a complete stranger appreciate your hard work. So when someone does a job well for you, give a little back and do more than just thank them, make sure that their superiors are recognizing their work as well, because there’s a good chance that it’s going unnoticed most of the time. Also, take into consideration that there are very few people who do this anymore, so you may talk to a manger who looks kind of stunned or doesn’t know how to receive the compliment, in which case, go ahead and ask to speak to another manager.

On the opposite side, if no one ever points out bad service when they get it, we can’t much hope to get good service anywhere. My sister pointed something out that made perfect sense when I was talking to her about these events. She said,

There was a time when if a place had bad service, people didn’t go and the business would suffer, so they would be forced to do something about it. Now we are such consumers that we don’t even consider service really, unless it happens to be extremely bad.

And it’s true, we don’t expect much from any shopping or dining experience, for this reason I strongly believe that it’s more important to speak to management when you encounter someone who’s really good at their job, however, I think it’s much more effective to encourage the people who do really well, than to be constantly complaining about the people who don’t. However, I wouldn’t just let it go if someone is out-and-out rude to you, and again, if you get a manager who doesn’t seem to know what to do with the things you are telling him, if he/she hasn’t apologized for the situation, ask to speak to someone else. It should be noted that this is NOT your opportunity to vent all of your days frustration at one person, nor is it the time to be a bad client. Respectfully let management know that you enjoy patronizing their establishment, but that you don’t appreciate the way you were treated this particular time. I’ve heard it said that every criticism you offer should be proceeded by two compliments.

Taking the time to do this may not seem like it makes much of a difference, but I can promise you, for those who are doing an excellent job, for the men and women who are working thankless jobs day in and day out, and being treated like a robot most of the time, the 10 minutes it will take you to let their management know what a great employee they are, will mean the world to them.

photo credit:

Image: Darren Robertson /