I was recently listening to a friend complain about the fact that she could not get good service or even basic attention at many stores and businesses these days. You know what I mean, "Old Fashioned Service" and here is the funny thing, she is only 26 years old. I have been hearing the same thing for years and with the advent of Big Box Retail, Megastores, and Corporate empires along with a lack of personal involvement on the part of many business owners I see this happening at many businesses locally. However, after thinking about it for awhile, I realized that "old fashioned service" DOES still exist. The unfortunate fact is that you sometimes have to look around to find it!
Obviously, the key ingrediants to great service in any business are the people. My neighborhood convenience store manager, Cherie Kalaher is a great example. She is exceedingly friendly and also very mischievous. When I first began stopping there for gas, coffee and other items, I would hear her teasing others in the store and always enjoyed watching her in action (while managing to avoid any of her humorous barbs)! One day I was in a long line (yes it is a popular store) and when my turn arrived, I asked her to go easy on me. She laughed and said "Well honey, if you would just get caught up on our "child support payments" I would not have to hassle you!!" I was so shocked that I was speechless (a rare event) and all of the regulars in line broke up laughing"! I managed to recover and then began laughing myself. Since that time we have become good friends and I always make it a point to stop by just to see if she has a new story, joke or to watch her tease a "newcomer" to the neighborhood. She knows everyone and just about everything going on!
There are many other places where I do business in the community and again, the main reason is the people who work there every day. My local hardware store Breed & Company is managed by David Oltrogge. He is one of those people who has an encyclopedic mind and can help with any request in the store. If you want to know; what it takes, how it works or what will fix it, he is your man! At my favorite local restaurants, grocery stores, book stores, (yes you read that correctly - plural) gas station, music store, library, mechanic, camera shop and even at my Post Office are folks who I know and depend on to help me with whatever service I require. I wish I could list them all with a link to their respective web sites and plan to in the near future! In my profession as a real estate broker, I am keenly aware of the service aspect in my job. There are over 10,000 real estate agents in my MLS area and the only thing that differentiates us from each other is a professional approach and the level of knowledge and service we are willing to provide to our clients and customers! There are business establishments for every need and competition is fierce for business in the general public! Because of this, I avoid places where I am met with arrogance, indifference or rude treatment. I can almost always find what I need in a better environment!
Now, more than ever, in this current economic downturn it's important to patronize the folks who practice the Golden Rule and truly work for the customer!
Good service, knowledgeable and courteous assistance also comes with the responsibility to be a good customer! How many times have you watched rude, demanding patrons mistreat and abuse an employee who is trying their best? Such impatient, angry treatment is not soon forgotten and I am always amazed at the customers who act in such an inappropriate manner! On more than one occasion, I have been the next person in line and when appropriate, I usually say something funny or empathetic that in some way diffuses the situation. Over the years I have developed some good relationships; you know the type, when they see you walk in they smile and greet you and the feeling is mutual.
In Texas, we have a reputation for being friendly and though that may not ALWAYS be the case, I like to think it is true more often than not. It's really a way of life and not just an empty saying. A few years ago, a friend related the story about a European family on vacation that stopped for lunch at a small West Texas Café. After finishing their meal, they paid the bill and told the owner how much they enjoyed the meal and the friendly service. As they began to leave the owner said, "Y'all come back". The family turned around and marched back in, literally taking the man at his word. Funny story and as you know, it is just an expression in Texas but what makes people return to any business anywhere is friendly, courteous knowledgeable and professional service! So, please patronize the businesses where these options are available and you will be doing yourself and that business a favor!
Thanks for dropping by my blog today, y'all come back real soon!