Recently a few colleagues and I were discussing a man we all have contact with at an external agency (for the sake of this blog, lets call him Bob). Bob is known for being friendly, helpful, and an all out “good guy” in a area where there are a lot of people out to, well, screw you over.
Not long after this conversation Bob himself called me to discuss work and I happened to casually mention to him that I was privy to a conversation about how good he is. Bob was shocked, as in he barely believed me, and wondered if I was perhaps just being overly nice. I challenged Bob on this, initially doubting the sincerity of his shock, and he explained that when things are good he rarely hears from people, but when things go wrong, he is the first port of call for blame. He said he really didn’t hear the word thank you, let alone compliments attesting to his character.
Having worked in retail as a teen, I was not so surprised to hear this. Customers would scream, shout, and demand a manager the second that things were not going their own way, but go out of your way to help a customer? Spend your break walking them to the item that they can’t find? You would be lucky to hear a dismissive ‘cheers’.
How much nicer would things be if we took that energy we seem to reserve for complaints and ensured that for every complaint we made, 5 equally meaning thank-you’s were given?
People will always work harder for those that are appreciative, imagine if we were all appreciative, all respectful. Spreading the love, discouraging (through role modelling) the disrespect.
When I see grumpy cashiers now, sometimes I still get frustrated, I think a smile doesn’t cost anything. Then I watch the people they serve, the ones who moan about queues (which the cashiers have little or no control over), grumble a barely audible hello, or talk/text while they are being served, not even taking the time to look once at the cashier, and I remember why they probably act like that.
The same goes for so many other workers out there who are constantly confronted with our socially inept ways.
My suggestion? Go out there and smile, say thank you when ever you can, greet the people you interact with and give them the respect you would any other human being. Hopefully you will make someones day a little bit easier, making them a little more friendly for the next person who comes along.
Give it a go. I dare you!