Communicating & Customer Service

In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10 year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. “How much is an ice cream sundae?” he asked. “50¢,” replied the waitress.

The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it.

“Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?” he inquired. By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient. “35¢!” she brusquely replied.

The little boy again counted his coins. “I’ll have the plain ice cream,” he said. The waitress brought the dish of ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished his treat, paid the cashier and left.

When the waitress came back to wipe down the table her eyes began to well up. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies. That young man decided that he couldn’t have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.

Monday Morning Perspective

“To oblige persons often costs little and helps much.”

– Baltasar Gracian (1601-1658) Spanish Philosopher & Writer

“If we do not lay out ourselves in the service of mankind whom should we serve?”

– John Adams (1735-1826) Statesman & Second President of the USA


More people today should have the same manners and consideration for others that the young boy in the story displayed for his waitress. I’ve seen people talk down to wait staff as though they were paid personal servants, and I’m always leery of eating my food if I’m seated at the same table. And if the bad manners weren’t enough of a concern, just pair that with the use of a cell phone.

There are few things that bother me more than watching someone have a conversation on a cell phone (sometimes using their Bluetooth device as though it’s less offensive) while trying to order a coffee or a meal, or make a purchase. These people use gestures, mouth the desired order, and make it an all-out painful experience for the person behind the counter who is trying to decipher what they really want.

I’ve even witnessed a guy in a business suit with his Bluetooth in, accept his coffee, take one sip, and then exclaim, “Sally… Hold on just one second… Miss! Miss! This is not what I ordered!  I specifically wanted a Grande Skinny Stirred Latte with ½ a shot of espresso on the side! Can’t you get anything right?” The man behind him in line leaned over and said, “Then maybe Sally should be making your coffee since you’ve spent the last 5 minutes talking with her instead of communicating your order correctly to this young lady here!” Priceless.

A coffee shop in England made international news over a small sign that states that they will not serve a customer who’s on a cell phone. People were up in arms about this business owner’s perspective, but I understand it completely.

He stands behind the fact that being a successful business is about more than the quality of the coffee. He recognizes that great customer service is the other half of the equation- a vital thing he can’t deliver if his clientele are engaged in conversation with someone else the entire time he’s serving them his product.  So this Barista made a stand- and his business is booming.

I’m not saying that technology is a bad thing- I use it just as much as the next person. But the fact remains that cell phones were invented to keep us connected. Connected to what? To PEOPLE.

When people are right there in front of you, stop looking for that interpersonal connection elsewhere. Just say “Hello” and have a conversation.

You’re next best friend, business deal, or perfect resource might just be one “Hello” away.

Have a wonderfully connected week!

Warmest Regards,

Crystal Dyer

 © Crystal Dyer 2012. All rights reserved.

ISSN: 2158-1355


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