I’m pretty sure the one thing in this world that really unifies mankind is our desire for good customer service.

In the past, I said that heartbreak is The Great Equalizer, and now I’m proposing customer service as the The Great Uniter.

I don’t care who you are– you’ve experienced burning anger towards bad customer service, or giddy appreciation for good customer service. I promise you that even Kate Middleton and Barack Obama have experienced both sides of the equation at some point in their lives. Probably not in the last eight years, but rightfully so.

kate-middleton

I was reminded of just how much customer service can make someone’s day when I stopped into CVS last week. I’d visited this CVS two or three times in the past month, looking to print one hour photos or pick up an emergency bag of SkinnyPop, because I couldn’t make it the 5 minutes home before shoving something into my pie hole. This time, I was on the hunt for conditioner and ice cube trays. After my husband watched me (via Facetime) spend a solid 7 minutes trying to get the stupid ice cubes to come out of our old ice tray while making a smoothie last week, he suggested I splurge the $1.50 on a new one. Who knew what a difference that could make in my daily routine?? Baby, what would I do without you…

I spent exactly 4 seconds finding the conditioner, and another 30 looking for ice trays before I decided to ask for help. This is a convenience store, after all. I shouldn’t spend more than half a minute looking for any one item. When I approached the guy behind the counter to ask if they sold ice trays, I’ve never seen someone’s face light up so bright. He threw his pointer finger in the air and exclaimed, “Why yes we do!!” before bounding out from behind the register, continuing, “And I know just where they are!”

Talk about taking pride in your work.

He took me over to the chips aisle (ah, yes, of course…) and presented me with two light blue ice trays. The look in his eyes was similar to that of my old cat when she’d bring a dead bird to the back door.

I would’ve been surprised by this kid’s enthusiasm, except on my previous trips to CVS, he behaved in the same manner. Every time someone walked in, he’d loudly say, “Welcome to CVS!!” You should see people’s faces. It’s hilarious. Most people even stop and awkwardly say thank you, because he truly welcomes you as though you just entered Disney World. It’s awesome. Plus all of my experiences with him at checkout were on the same scale of animated delight.

salute

The ice tray experience got me thinking– how often do I make sure I do everything with a positive attitude? Even outside of work, my “customer service” to the world is in opening doors, letting another car take the good parking spot, waving at a fellow bike-rider/runner/walker, and helping my parents bring in the groceries. Any time we interact with other people is our daily form of “customer service.”

The CVS worker’s amazing attitude is in such stark contrast to the hundreds of negative experiences I’ve had with employees. Just like good customer service, horrible customer service can be imitated or reversed in every day life. Those people need to ask themselves: Am I going out of my way to help other people? Am I doing everything with a smile? Am I making people’s lives easier or harder? Am I taking the time to listen and understand when people talk to me?

All questions that we should probably ask ourselves, too, right?

This little challenge to compare my choices to that of a good/bad customer service employee has been really helpful in evaluating my temperament I bring to the world. I can either be eager or reluctant to do the kind things we’re called to do out of kindness. Customer service employees are called to do them out of a job description, but my job description in life is to love others, do my best at whatever I do, and keep my actions motivated by faith. I’m pretty sure if I do all of those things, it’ll mean that my spirit is that of that exuberant kid at CVS. He certainly makes my day whenever I’m there, so I need to pay the alacrity forward to uplift friends, family, and strangers alike!