Invariably during the course of a week, you walk into the local convenience store, fast food restaurant, or coffee shop and the bill is something like $8.51. You reach into your pocket and have fifty cents in change. You look around for the “need a penny, take a penny” jar, or somewhat embarrassingly ask the clerk if you can borrow a penny, or shrug and walk with ninety-nine cents in change.
What triggered this writing were back-to-back experiences this past Saturday evening. First I stopped to pick up a pizza. The bill was for $11.79. I handed the cashier $11.80 and patiently waited for my penny. The cashier gave me a disdainful look, and asked if the amount was correct. I shrugged and left with my pizza and without my penny.
The next stop was to buy beer. The cashier rang the sale for the amount on $7.01. I handed the cashier eight dollars. He smiled, handed me back one dollar and wished me a good evening.
These two events may seem a bit trivial, and it did balance out in the end. But my point is that in good customer service the little things are as important those events of greater consequence.
Whether its a dry cleaner that messes up a shirt, and then either claims it wasn’t their fault, or leaps to talk care of problem at their expense; or the server at a restaurant who asks if you want change when you pay your bill, not giving you the opportunity to decide the tip; or the cashier who short changes you or forgives you a penny, all create an image of how they value their customers.
Good customer service, and the perception of good customer service, begins with a penny, which can then grow or shrink by dollars.
(BTW, the pizza wasn’t that good.)