There’s such a disconnect between scripted politeness and genuine service. The one truth I know is that it’s difficult to teach genuine politeness and service. Here’s an incident I had one hurried morning before work.
Scene: Walgreen’s corner store
After gathering up the armful of items I needed, I started looking for some mints or hard candy like Lifesavers. I get to the checkout and there are no mints. I find a box of Mentos rolls behind the iTunes gift cards. The display box has only the bottom row of Mentos left. I tried three times to get them out of the box and each time knocking the gift cards on the floor. Nevermind.
At the checkout, I place the bag of cat litter, the 2 liter of pop and various odd items I had in my arms up on the counter.
Me: Do you have any Lifesavers or mints
Clerk: Yes we do. They’re on aisle 19.
Me: Oh. None up here by the check out?
Clerk: (stunned look) No. There are some packages over there.
Me: Yeah, I tried to get those, but they are stuck. And the gift cards are in the way.
Clerk: We have gum.
Me: I don’t want gum. I want mints. Nevermind, I’ll just check out.
Clerk: So, has your day been okay so far?
Me: (I want to laugh hysterically) Sure, fine.
Clerk: (hands my coupons and receipt to me) You have a coupon here for $4.00 off of Prilosec.
Me: (nearly speechless) Thanks.
We’ve all encountered it. It happens everywhere. The waitress that really wants to go home as she half smiles at you or the customer service person which you can’t understand as he reads off of his computer screen. He calls himself Bob, but you know that’s not his name. It’s service, but oh so scripted. It happens because we need service. It’s either scripted help or robots. I guess my point is, that anytime you happen upon a truly helpful person, notice it. Appreciate it and tell them how much you appreciate their help. And when you are in the middle of a scripted moment, just remember to be patient. Remember that scripting is necessary because we live in a modern society in need of service. Scripting happens.
While the coffee is great, (I) can testify that it’s not the primary reason regulars come to Starbucks. It’s the element of personal connection. – Carrie Dils, Good Customer Service Skills