From 1996 until 1998, I experienced the best and worst fast-food scenarios possible during my tenure as a part-time perky drive-thru girl at Burger King. I didn’t always love it while I had the job, but sometimes I look back and wish I still had a job like that. Hindsight, of course, is 20/20, but here are some pros and cons:
- I got to work with cute guys my own age every single day.
- I got paid for every hour I worked, and if I worked more than 40 hours in a week, I got overtime pay.
- Lives did not depend on my ability to properly place and collect pay for a drive-thru food order, but I did my best at it nonetheless.
- When we closed the store at night, we would blast music and goof around and throw water at each other, and then when we were all done, we’d all go to Denny’s and hang out and drink coffee for hours.
- I never had more than one day off in a row.
- I had to be on my feet during my entire shift.
- Once I was maced while working in the drive-thru. Oh, and I had to clean up puke a few times.
- I came home every night smelling like burgers and our weenie dog would lick my neck when I picked her up because she’s not very bright, and I think she thought I was ACTUALLY A BURGER.
- People assumed that I was an idiot because I worked in fast food, and they weren’t always very nice to me.
That last part was the worst. Because, see, I really was actually very good at what I did there, and it would really upset me when people had been unclear or forgot what they ordered and then complained to my manager about something. And, as those of you who work in a service industry surely know, people generally only take the time to give feedback when they’re angry about something. It was really hard to be positive to customers sometimes when it seemed like every fourth person who came through my line expected me to be an idiot and mess things up, and treated me accordingly.
How often have you sought out a manager or supervisor to tell her that you had a fantastic experience with your cashier/customer service rep/bank teller/waiter that day? How often have you complained about poor service or bad attitude from any of those people?
I’m guilty of it too. Sometimes it’s more important to us to air our grievances than it is to give proper praise for a job well done.
Today I discovered that something funky was going on with my cell phone’s voice mail, and I called the toll-free customer service number for Verizon Wireless to report the problem and to see if it could be fixed.
It ended up taking a little while to discover the source of my problem, and during that time, my CS rep, Frances, was absolutely fantastic. She apologized for making me wait on hold even for brief moments, and while I was on the line with her and she was trying to figure out the problem, she engaged me in conversation about the area where I live (she had once lived near here, as a small girl) and was just really friendly and pleasant and helpful the entire time. And I told her so, and thanked her, at the end of our conversation.
Frances had to transfer me to a technician, Tom, who needed to change something about the programming on my phone in order to fix the problem. I was only on the phone with Tom for a brief time, but during that time, he was every bit as helpful and friendly as Frances had been. And then, at the end of our conversation, he told me that he wanted me to take down his direct office number, and that if I had further problems of this nature, I should call him directly so that he could fix them right away.
Needless to say, I was beyond impressed. And I’m writing a letter to their office (and copying the division president) and letting them know they have at least two completely awesome employees working for them.
I feel good because I had such a nice experience with them, and I also feel good because I’m going to do all I can to make sure that someone knows those two are doing a great job.
I really encourage all of you to take the time to let someone know when you’ve had a really great business experience with someone. I think maybe if we all did it a little bit more, we could help those people feel good about what they do, and we’d all have more positive experiences as a result.
There’s your fuzzy thought. Have a great weekend.