Focus On The Customer


Today was Day 50 of Campaign Smile and another encouraging day for our economy as I see more businesses paying attention to the most important part of their work, i.e. the customer.  Profits and losses are important, employee relations must be monitored, and the overall return on investment is integral.  However, none of it matters if there are not customers to drive the machine, so to speak.  Whether your customer is a major manufacturing plant purchasing millions of pounds of raw materials or an individual choosing you to get them a meal on their lunch break they are both absolutely necessary to the continuation of the business.  I think that lesson has been lost and/or put to the side by a lot of businesses over the last century as things were, for the most part, always improving.  It took a slap in the face and a few large failures to make everyone pay attention.

1. I went out to a fast-food restaurant for lunch and was surprised by what I saw.  Instead of the usual situation where one lonely cashier is left to take every order while two people are cooking and putting the food out there was ample help in the kitchen and 4 separate registers open on a Tuesday afternoon.  The young lady that took my order was very pleasant and ceded a small, timid smile as she hurried around to get my order for me.

2. As I sat in the dining room I was surprised again as I watched a nice older woman make her way around the room offering to refill drinks, get condiments, pass out mints and wet napkins.  She was very efficient and helpful and even managed to give me a small smile of her own.  This smile was not timid but, rather, strained as she did her best to keep moving fast enough to accomplish her task.

3. As I took my tray to the trash I passed another young lady who had come out to help the older woman work the room.  She gave me a large smile and asked, as I headed for the door, whether I needed a refill on my drink.

4. I was quite enthused by all the smiles as I headed out the door.  I saw a woman in a nice business suit walking across the parking lot.  As I stayed to hold the door she returned my smile with a grand grin of her own and thanked me.  I told her she was welcome and wished her a great day which I am sure our interaction helped to ensure. 

5. I went to the library next and, as I perused the aisles I passed a woman who did not have a smile to give as I gifted one to her.  However, I saw the corners of her mouth tugging upward and knew that I had helped.  Either I helped turn her day around or, if it was going in the right direction already, I gave it a boost along the way.

6. I went into a pet supply store on the way home and received another great sign of the change in focus in retail.  As I walked in the door a nice young woman who was standing nearby returned my smile and asked how I was.  She was, it turns out, the cashier and she kept that smile through my entire visit.

5 more smiles today brings the total to 164.  The more important thing, though, is the knowledge of all the good I did.  Sure, those women at the restaurant and the pet store were expected to smile and be nice but we all know how difficult it can be when things are hectic and people aren’t responding in kind.  I believe that by receiving my smiling expression before the big lunch rush they found it easier to continue their kind approaches.  I know that, no matter how her day was going so far, the woman in the business suit felt better about the day.   I also know that the woman at the library got a boost that she might not recognize or realize immediately.  If you think about it you know how much it improves your mood when someone smiles at you so why not pass that feeling along to someone else?
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