Last year, as part of my “year of adventure,” I started going out of my way to say thank you to someone who waits on me in a retail setting. At least once a week , I try to find an employee at some store I’m at who is doing a good job or goes out of their way to help me or make my shopping experience better.
I literally make it a point to look for someone doing a good job.
I’ve learned that when you do that, you’re likely to find someone who is doing a good job, which generally makes the shopping experience more pleasant than looking for something to bitch about. Which I think is how most of us shop. We expect to long lines, untrained cashiers, mispriced items, the wrong amount of cream in our coffee.
In fact, customers are far more likely to complain to a store manager than to compliment. But a compliment can go a long way towards boosting someone’s day, and hopefully count when it comes time for a review.
I visit Tim Hortons fairly regularly, and not long ago I wrote a little note to Tim Horton’s corporate and let them know that one of their employees, Chris, does a fantastic job. He knows my voice when I go through the drive thru, knows the dogs, is friendly, gets my coffee right every time, and overall makes the trip through the drive thru a very pleasant experience.
I mentioned it to him a few weeks ago, because I wanted to make sure the note got to his store manager and that Chris got something for it – something in his file, you know, something from his boss that recognized that a customer singled him out for a job well done. Chris hadn’t heard anything.
I was disappointed but not surprised. It’s pretty common that when I stop at the service desk at almost every store and ask for a comment card or to see the manager to tell them one of their employees did a great job, they’re kind of stunned. They don’t know what to say and often don’t even write down the name of the employee. This week, at Walmart the girl at the service desk ripped off a piece of register tape and jotted down the cashier’s name, and the manager at Home Depot, after writing down the employee’s name on a piece of scrap paper, kept telling me to fill out the customer survey on my reciept, even though I explained I didn’t buy anything. (Wegmans so far is the only store that actually has comment cards I can fill out.)
Then tonight, when I stopped in to Tim Hortons for my pre-drawing class coffee, Chris greeted me by pointing proudly to his hat and saying, “You did this.” There, pinned to his work visor, was a customer satisfaction pin. Corporate had recognized him officially with the pin, a gift card, and nice letter that not only gave him a pat on the back but let his manager know what a great job he’s doing.
No, Chris, you did that!
I’m so glad that his company responded. Employees like Chris are assets to service businesses like Tim Hortons or Wegmans or Walmart or Home Depot. These are not high payingjobs. These are pay the bills jobs or save for college jobs or make ends meet jobs. And the employees who do those jobs really appreciate a simple thank you, especially when the majority of feedback from customers is complaining.
But even more, I feel great when I fill out a comment card with positive feedback. It’s often referred to as a “helper’s high”, when you go out of your way to do something nice for someone without expecting anything in return. It literally affects your hormones and mood – making someone else happy makes you happy.
I challenge you to give it a shot. The next time you’re shopping, make it a point to look for someone doing something well – an employee who answers your questions, helps you find an item, fixes an error, who smiles and greets you warmly. Then a moment to fill out a comment card, tell the manager, or when you get home, send an email to their corporate office. Wegmans makes it super easy; you can fill out the card in less than a minute.
It’s worth taking a few minutes out of your day to do something nice for someone else. You’ll be glad you did. And so will the employee!