The kindness (and efficiency) of strangers
From the "that was awkward" memory file: I'm applying for a driver license in another state. Peering into the hood of the vision screening device, I focus on the foggy surface and announce, "OK, you can turn it on now." Brief pause. "It is on."
I could have told them there was no point in testing me without glasses. Thanks to polycarbonate, my nose no longer features dents from supporting powerful lenses. Frame selection is the problem now. After I select likely styles, I still can't tell how they'd really work for me with my face that close to the mirror.
Fighting my Independent Customer tendencies (I don't even like to be greeted at the door) I eventually devised a workaround. This works surprising well: I recruit a store employee to alert me what not to buy--because no one will tell a customer directly that something looks terrible even when it does. I'll quickly try on four or five frames in succession, asking the staffer to elect--reality-show style--which one should be eliminated first, etc. until one remains.
This year my drafted stylist was particularly helpful, even suggesting an alternate color. The store manager who fitted my new selection listened happily to my lavish compliments about the employee before gently inquiring if I'd gone online to complete the customer feedback survey.
And I hadn't. Most store receipts we get now offer those opportunities--just one more mode of information overload.
Here's what made this instance special. The manager related how their company forwards complimentary comments to the individual who was named. The positive report arrives in the form of a little certificate which, she explained, is displayed on the wall with the collection of customer praise, and "we enjoy them so much!"
Who wouldn't follow up after that? The survey required less than a minute. Especially with City of Round Rock employees marking Customer Service Week next week, I should have remembered: service interactions are as personal to the employee as to the patron.
Most customer transactions are rewarding, some just memorable than others. Recently, a library patron I'd assisted to find product rankings observed that library people were "just wonderful--and so nice, too." She speculated whether we had all gone to charm school?
No, but apparently she did.