Everyone is in such a rush….hurry through the check-out lane, keep talking while the waiter serves your food, did you notice the cashier? How about the teller at the bank or the valet at the restaurant? Could it be that these people we hardly notice have important stories to tell? Could they enrich our lives if we only knew them? One of my friends is a photographer. He makes a very special effort to meet people throughout the day and talk with them about their lives. You can see some of his work here: http://www.kerrywoophotography.com/goodpeople I believe his life has been made richer by the people he has met!
I would like to propose an experiment. Tomorrow is the start of a new week….a perfect time to try something new. I propose that we make an effort to acknowledge everyone who serves us throughout the day. Use this experiment as the basis of the conversation starter if you like. Most service people wear name tags. You might start by simply saying, “Hello” and using the person’s name….and then introduce yourself. See where the conversation goes. It might seem very awkward at first, but if you make this a habit, it will become easier.
Here are two examples:
I was standing in line a few days ago to get the oil changed in my car. I’ve been to this place before and know they do a great job with advertising. I had been to a conference recently and met the author of a book on marketing. I had just bought his book because his ideas were remarkable. When my turn came I thanked him for the amazing service I had received in the past, and told him I was aware of his hard work in marketing his business. I mentioned the book and he was really interested. He wrote down the title after I mentioned that the book dealt with “word of mouth” marketing. It was obviously important to him and he thanked me sincerely for the recommendation. I really felt good about that conversation, and the experience of getting my oil changed was much more pleasant than the normal cashier/customer experience. Try it…you’ll see and agree!
The second example comes from a visit to McDonalds. That day I had my name tag on and the cashier acknowledged me!….that’s a switch! He said, “I drive by your store every day, but I’ve never been in. My parents bought all of their appliances from your store.” We had a nice, although brief, conversation. I gave him my card and told him to say “hello” from me to his parents, and invited him to stop in sometime. Again, the cashier/customer experience is usually nothing more than a financial transaction followed by a “thank-you.” I was instead very impressed by his customer service, and at the same time was able to represent my company and thank his parents indirectly for their business.
Will you try this experiment tomorrow? I would love to hear about your experience! You just never know who you will meet and what might happen as a result! It might be your life that is enriched!