How to blow away your customers – do something unexpected

This past Sunday was my first visit to a place in Hendersonville, NC called The Dugout.  My friend Brad and I went there to have some lunch and catch the Patriots game. Little did I know that I would be blown away by the actions of one of the employees.

As you might have guessed from the name, the Dugout is a sports bar.  Lots of TV’s, sports memorabilia on the walls and plenty of “pub grub” on the menu.  When our server, Josh, told us that everything they make is fresh and homemade, I was excited to try to the food.

And it was good. I had the fried green tomato and shrimp BLT.  Yum.

But that’s not the “blown away” part.

At about half time in the game, I asked Josh what they had for dessert.  The only thing they had that day, he said, was a sugar (or gluten – I can’t remember now) free pumpkin pie cheesecake.  I am a sucker for pumpkin pie AND cheesecake, so you put them together…

Pumpkin Pie CheesecakeYeah.  I’ll take a slice.

When I ordered, Josh asked if I would like whipped cream.  Um, of course!

He brought the slice over a few minutes later and informed me that they were out of whipped cream, so….

(Get ready to be blown away…)

He said he would make some!  And he did.

A few minutes later he came back with a small bowl of fresh (and REAL) whipped cream.  He had literally put some cream in a bowl and whipped it.

I’ve made whipped cream before – it’s not that hard.  BUT, for a server at a sports bar to whip up some whipped cream was totally unexpected.  Yes, I was blown away.

My friend Scott Brown is always asking his clients, “what can you do to ‘plus’ your service?”  In other words, Josh could have delivered the cheesecake and apologized for not having the whipped cream. Okay, they are out, oh well. The “plus” was taking the initiative and putting his know-how to work in the absence of a product or promise that had been made.

Because we were at the Dugout for so long (it was a long game!), I was able to glean a little intel into the perfect storm that allowed this to happen.

My friend Brad said that the owner is usually out and about, very visible in the restaurant, which is fantastic.  Today was a little different and toward the end of the game we found out why.

The owner came out (in a Patriots shirt, I might add!) and was conversing with some of the regulars.  He said that one employee called out today and another didn’t show up, so he had been helping out in the kitchen to make sure everything ran smoothly.

I remember back to leaders I knew that jumped in and helped when the chips were down and what a positive impact it had on the team.  There was a can-do, we’re-all-in-it-together kind of spirit. And even though it may not be the best situation, good leaders can turn it around quickly.

Getting back to Josh, if he didn’t KNOW how to make whipped cream, I would have enjoyed the cheesecake anyway.  BUT, with the owner setting the “do-whatever-it-takes” example, Josh probably felt like he could take it upon himself to do what he needed to do to make things right.

The stars had aligned… the perfect conditions were present for just the right synapse to fire in Josh’s brain, connecting what he knows HOW to do with what he COULD do.

Perfect.

But here’s the thing… this is not intended to be a lesson in teaching your employees how to make whipped cream.  That may not be your business and it might not make sense.

Instead, we should always be focusing on developing the skills and can-do attitude in our employees so they can read a situation and administer a positive solution.  So much of “customer service” training has devolved into order taking and completing tasks.  Probably because we don’t think our employees can handle anything else.  But that’s wrong.

That is us taking a short cut.

You want to stand out in customer service?  You want to provide cool and unexpected experiences for your guests?  You can’t script that.  You can’t put people in a box and then expect them to perform out-of-the-box feats of super-ness.

By the way, when was the last time you did something unexpected (and positive!) for your employees?

If I was blown away with positivity and good vibes as a guest, imagine what kind of impact you could have on your staff.

Thanks for reading!

Matt

About the author: After 20+ years in hospitality leadership and human resources, Matt Heller founded Performance Optimist Consulting in 2011 with one simple goal: Help Leaders Lead. Matt now works with organizations large and small to help them improve leadership competencies, customer service, employee motivation and teamwork. His book, “The Myth of Employee Burnout” addresses how leaders can overcome the all-too common phenomenon of employees burning out, or losing motivation over time.

Book cover with amazon

 

 

 

 

 

They screwed up, but I am still going back

So this just happened…. I took my VW Beetle in to get the door handle fixed.

The door handle was fixed, except… it was the wrong door handle.

As it happened, my car had two door handles needing repair.  On the drivers’ side, the handle that you use to pull the door shut was loose. Didn’t really care about that one.

The larger priority in my mind was the passenger door… the handle that you pull to OPEN the door was inoperable, meaning that the passenger (usually my wife) had to either roll the window down and open it from the outside or wait for me to come around and open it for her.  She was NOT doing a Dukes of Hazzard maneuver.

So, I made an appointment to get the door handle fixed. I went to the shop, gave them my keys and they went to work. It wasn’t until I got back into my car that I noticed something was amiss.

There was painters (blue) tape on the drivers side handle.  I thought… “oh, they noticed that and fixed that, too!  Sweet!”  (Not with painters tape, that was just holding it while the silicone cured).  Then I reached over and tried to open the passenger door.  Nothing doing.

I went back in to the shop and talked to the mechanic.  Apparently there was a miscommunication.  Hmmm… how did that happen?

Let’s look.  Re-read the parts where I talk about getting the door handle fixed.  I did it twice in this post.  Neither time did I mention that it was the passenger door.

It’s QUITE possible I didn’t mention it to the mechanic, either.  I honestly can’t remember. In my mind, the door handle that NEEDED to be fixed was the passenger side.  However, if they never got in or out of the passengers side, they wouldn’t have noticed it.  They noticed the drivers side and that was that.  That’s the one they were going to fix.

Part of the customer service “discovery” process is to MAKE SURE you know precisely what it is that the customer is looking for.  In this case, a clarifying question about which door handle needed attention would have saved us both some time.

But here’s the thing.  I’m not mad about this.  Not even a little angry.  So not angry or upset that I will still RECOMMEND this shop and will go back whenever my Beetle needs attention beyond my skill set (and not just to fix the other door handle!).  And why… because of the way they treated me and the way the mix up was handled.

Here is what I mean:

  • They remembered me – as soon as I walked in, they knew what I was there for (even if it WAS the wrong handle) and that I had been there before for something else. Being new in town, this was only my second trip there, yet they still remembered.
  • They were genuine – It was a small shop, so I imagine that the same people deal with each customer.  Still, I got the feeling that I mattered to them, that they were going to take care of me and that my car was in capable hands.  They made eye contact, smiled, and didn’t treat me like I was a car-idiot.
  • They owned up to the mistake – there was no, “well, you said it was that one” or “well, sucks to be you”.  When shown what was supposed to be fixed, it was “wow, I am so sorry. I should have clarified which one you meant. Most of the time we deal with the other side. We’ll make it right.”

And I am sure they will make it right.  So many of my experiences with this shop have been right, that it over powers this one that was not-so-right (especially when I probably contributed to this). And that is why I will be back.

What about you?  Is your service so good, and the way you treat your guests so genuine and exceptional that they will overlook little (or even medium-sized) missteps?   Do they give you the benefit-of-the-doubt if something isn’t quite up to expectations?

If you treat people like the fine folks at Eurotechnik in Hendersonville, NC treated me, (and be sure to ask clarifying questions!), they will.

Thanks for reading!

Matt

About the author:  After 20+ years in hospitality leadership and human resources, Matt Heller founded Performance Optimist Consulting in 2011 with one simple goal: Help Leaders Lead. Matt is now in high demand with organizations large and small to help them improve leadership competencies, customer service, employee motivation and teamwork. His book, “The Myth of Employee Burnout” addresses how leaders can overcome the all-too common phenomenon of employees burning out, or losing motivation over time.

Record sales when short staffed – a story about bravery, vision, and true leadership

I apologize for my recent “blog silence”!  Some of you already know that my wife and I recently moved from Orlando to Hendersonville, NC, and packing, driving, and unpacking have taken up a bunch of my time (and provided some great customer service stories, but those will have to wait)!  We’re quasi settled now, and I hope that today’s post was worth the wait!

It’s a story about a leader who works in the theme park industry and what he did to make it (quite successfully) through a busy spring break season.  He sent me the following email, and graciously agreed to allow me to share it with you.


Matt,

I’m just going to jump right into this: I just completed the most rewarding and fun week of work I’ve had in a long while, and it was during peak season! Sorry for the long book of an email, but I must tell all!

Going into this Spring Break season I knew first hand we were going to be short handed in the staffing department of the operation. Those who we did have on the roster would be pushed harder to make up for it, and it would be up to us as leaders in the venue to ensure they are given 200% support, encouragement, and engagement for their efforts.

In our unit we have our primary restaurant and a handful of smaller locations. As my expertise lies in food carts I’ve spent the past year improving that part of the operation, but Continue reading

Jackie made it all better

NOTE: This is Part 4 of a series of posts inspired by 40 very active hours of travel on March 13-14, 2015. This will complete the series. For Part 1 “I don’t care about $2, click here.  For Part 2 “Maybe I didn’t exist”, click here. For Part 3 “You sent my bag where?” click here.


After coming to grips with the fact that my suitcase would not be accompanying me during my 12 hour stay in Chicago, I still had to pick up my rental car and get to my destination.  So I boarded the shuttle to the rental car area.

That’s where I met Jackie.

Jackie had a “how ya doing, friend” kind of attitude.  Warm, engaging and genuine. At the risk of sounding redundant, she was real AND genuine!

After the morning I’d had, interacting with someone like Jackie (just on the above merits) was quite refreshing. But the story doesn’t end here.

Jackie pulled up my reservation and noticed that I had booked my car through a 3rd party “bundle” site (like Orbitz or Travelocity). It just seemed easier booking the number of flights, hotels and cars over such a short period.  As Jackie was about to point out, it’s not always cheaper that way.

She had a confused and bewildered look on her face when she said, “Do you know you are getting charged $68 for your car for one day?”

“No, it was in the bundle.” was my response.

“Well then,” she said with a wily smile, “you are going to love me. How does $11 sound?”

“How did you do that?” I asked.

“I changed your reservation… I re-booked it directly through our site.  Don’t go through the bundle sites, a lot of times they are much more expensive.”

“Wow” was about all I could muster.  I was amazed at her honesty and goodwill and I began to smile.  Of course I would need a GPS, but even with that added to the rental I was still getting a bargain.

As I returned the car later that day, a nice young man asked if everything was okay with the car.  I told him the car was fine, but that Jackie at the counter was a real rock star.  He agreed and said, “yes, she’s the best”.

So how did Jackie make it all better?  How did she make me forget all the other junk that happened in the last 28 hours. She cared. Plain and simple, she cared about me, my experience, and my wallet.  She cared enough to take action on my behalf.  She cared enough to right the wrongs (or overchargings) perpetrated by others.

Based on the young man’s comment when I returned the car, this was not an isolated incident. He has either seen Jackie in action or has heard other happy patrons say similar things about his colleague.

Thing is, you can’t teach people to care.  You can’t give them a handbook of the do’s and don’ts and expect them to care.  I would imagine Jackie cares because she is a role that allows her to do what she does best.  How many of us can say that?

How many of our employees would care a whole lot more if they were in roles that aligned with their natural talents and abilities?  How much happier would your customers be then?

That’s something that every leader should care about.

Thanks for reading!

PS – I debated whether or not to mention Jackie’s employer, because if what she did was against policy, I certainly wouldn’t want her getting in trouble for it.  In the end though, through her actions she created a sense of connection and loyalty that will guide my rental car decisions in the future.  So, Alamo, you have a great employee in Jackie, and I hope she gets the recognition she deserves for this and ALL of the great experiences she creates.  Oh, and I will always check your website first when in need of a rental car.

Matt

 

 

 

About the author: Some people don’t like to travel – Matt loves it! Not only does it provide for great stories like these, but it also allows him to do what he feels he does best – Helping Leaders Lead!  He does this through interactive keynotes and customized training workshops.  Click here for more details or to find out how to book Matt for your next event!

Maybe I didn’t exist?

NOTE: This is Part 2 of a series of posts inspired by 40 very active hours of travel on  March 13-14, 2015.  There will be at least 2 more entries in this series.  For Part 1 “I don’t care about $2, click here.


So I made it through security after interacting with Erin, and was heading to my gate.  Being a little parched, I stopped at the Ruby Tuesday quick serve location to get a bottled water.

This is one of those outcropping locations that are connected to the larger restaurant so us travelers can grab a quick bite OR be drawn into the larger establishment for heartier fare.  Just a bottle of water for me, thanks.

As a I approached, I saw the cashier, Aleshia, of the outcrop talking across a wall behind her to an employee from the restaurant proper.  To Aleshia’s credit, she stopped “talking” to him when I came up.  But, she also didn’t actually talk to me.  The dude behind her had asked her a question about vacation time, and she sort of stared at me blankly while processing the sale.  It was as if something else was on her mind…

As it turns out, there was.  As soon I was handed my receipt, she answered the dude’s question as if he had just asked it.  As if the time I just spent giving them money did not exist.  Maybe I didn’t exist?

I have to give slight, and I mean slight props to Aleshia for not answering the dude during my transaction. But I think I would also have to take those props away because clearly her mind was not on the transaction or the sale… it was on remembering what the dude said so she could respond as soon as I stopped bothering her.

If Aleshia gets some props in this situation (even though they are later rescinded), the dude gets negative props, demerits, and bizarro world-kudos.  His behavior should be appalling to any leader of a hospitality or service-oriented company.  He was distracting another employee from doing her job while also very likely neglecting his own duties.  A true over-achiever.

Like Erin though, I can’t say I completely blame Aleshia or the dude.  They get some blame of course because they chose their own actions, but my question is who is allowing this to happen.  This CAN’T be the first time a conversation was held over that wall, and probably not the first of it’s kind between the dude and Aleshia.  So who is there to keep these folks in line?

One of the topics I was speaking about on this trip was visible leadership. The importance of visible leadership was reinforced last year on my annual roller coaster-palooza trip last year, where the locations with the best guest service also had leaders that were out and about and visible… oh, and doing the right things.  Imagine… great guest service and great leadership being tied together??  Who would have thunk it?

Turns out, a lot of people should be thinking it.  You cannot have great service without a great leadership team who is visible, engaged, and has the skills to communicate and inspire their teams.  Leadership and guest service go together like peanut butter and jelly… Batman and Robin… Zan and Jayna… Lewis and Clark… Calvin and Hobbs… Ben and Jerry.

Where would Ben and Jerry be if there was no Ben or no Jerry?  (If you are a fan of their ice cream, you probably don’t even want to fathom the thought.)

And where would service be without great leadership?  The Ruby Tuesday outcrop shop at the Orlando International Airport.

Don’t let that be you.

Thanks for reading!

Matt

 

 

 

About the author: Matt spent a lot of time as a kid watching the Super Friends (which explains the Zan and Jayna and bizarro world references). When Matt is asked about his favorite super friend or super hero, the answer is always the same.  “It’s Superman, because he can fly.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The guests don’t care

Some of you may have seen an incomplete post that was activated too soon.  My apologies.  Full post is below.


How many times have we heard or said this:

“The guests don’t care if you are having a bad day.  They just want to be served, accommodated, helped or entertained, no matter how you feel.”

I know I’ve said it many times in the past, but I’m starting to rethink it. Deep down, does that attitude make us actually care less about our guests?  Take this out of the service environment, don’t you generally care when another human being is suffering in some way?  What makes the service context so different?  Aren’t we just humans helping humans? Does this mindset breed animosity instead of motivate people to smile no matter what? Along with “the customer is always right”, I am starting to believe it might be time to retire this type of thinking.

By essentially saying, “smile no matter what”, we are encouraging people to be fake. Have you ever seen someone smile who didn’t mean it?  Sure you have, and it’s not pretty.

For those who have been reading this blog for a while, you hopefully know that by saying all this I am not suggesting that we allow sour-puss faces on our employees.  Nay, nay.  What I AM saying is that we may have to look differently at what it takes to make our employees smile.

Communication, support, feedback, a sense of value, purpose, training, communication, innovation, autonomy, communication…

All that takes MUCH longer to master than a blind adherence to: leave your problems at the door.

The Leader

There is a fascinating contradiction to be explored here… because while I believe and stand behind everything I just wrote, I also believe this:

As a leader, you give up your right to have a bad day.

But that’s not fair! An employee gets to have a bad day but a leader doesn’t?

Yes.  By taking a leadership role, you agree to give up certain things and you agree to take on certain things.

  • You agree to be a role model, a teacher, a guide, a coach, and a listener.
  • You give up your old peer group for a new one.
  • You take on the responsibility for the productivity of your area to support the company goals.
  • You give up the right to complain about problems because…
  • You are now responsible for the solutions.
  • And yes, you give up the right to have a bad day.

Remember that a leader goes first.  A leader sets the tone.  A leader is the one that other people are watching.  THAT’S why things are different for you.  And that’s why you need to care about your employees so they will care about the guests – no matter what we think they may be thinking about us.

Think about that! :o)

Matt

 

 

 

About the author: Matt has been thinking a lot about guest service and leadership, especially as the IAAPA Attractions Expo draws near!  If you will be at the Expo, be sure to check out all of the education sessions! If you want to hear more about Matt’s philosophies and strategies around leadership, check out these sessions at the Expo:

Theme park or a classroom… or both!

Many of us have heard of theme parks and amusement parks being used as a physics classroom… where students study the dynamic forces of rides and attractions to understand the real-world application of the theories they have learned in school.

Now imagine that principle, but for business and leadership!

That’s Lessons In Fun!  A brand-new kind of training seminar that uses the world’s greatest theme parks as your business classroom.  And it’s not just for people who work at theme parks and amusement parks – it’s for ANYONE who wants to be a better leader, improve customer service and gain a competitive advantage!

Scott Brown and I created the program, and it combines our love of theme parks, teaching, leadership, customer service and business improvement! We can’t wait for you to experience it!

Our goal is not to have participants adopt what other companies do (because that rarely works) but to adapt what they’ve learned and experienced to their own business or situation.

For more information and to register, check out www.lessonsinfun.com.

Thanks!

Matt

What shuffling through iTunes taught me about business

On a recent flight to Minneapolis, I got the chance to listen to a lot of great music. As it would happen, iTunes did a nice job shuffling through my songs, picking a bunch that I hadn’t heard it a while. Probably no coincidence that many were by Rush, as they represent the largest collection of songs by any artist in my library.

And here is what I noticed. As I listened carefully to these songs, especially some of the Rush songs, I noticed a distinct progression happening… A journey that Rush ITunesthe artist takes you on from the beginning of the song to the end, adding layers and textures, building intensity, telling a story, subtly changing rhythms and melodies to propel us forward to the next verse, chorus, bridge or solo.

It was the first time in a while that I really listened to music as an event, rather than using it a way to fill the air with sound.

And it was great.

And then it hit me. This is what an ideal consumer experience should be like, too.

Think about it… If someone walks through the doors of a store or talks to someone on the phone before their visit, that’s like the intro of a song – setting the tone for the experience.  As they go through the store, they may experience repeating patterns that become familiar, such as brand or promotional messaging – much like a familiar and repeatable chorus of a popular song.

They also get to see, touch and smell different items that continually pique their interest, inviting them to try more. This would equate musically to changes in key or melody, time signature and tempo.

If done correctly, the end result is a very satisfying experience where both the listener and the consumer feels they have been on a wonderful journey that they want to repeat.

Now, I will say that not every song I listened to took me on this journey. Some had a good hook or a great beat, but didn’t quite bring it all together… for me. And that’s okay.

So how does your business compare to this musical metaphor?  Are you set up to maximize transaction efficiency while failing to tell a story, your story, that ultimately draws your customer in and makes them part of the journey?

If so, how could you change that?  When was the last time you truly experienced your business as your consumer does?  It sounds simple, but seeing things from their vantage point can uncover incredible opportunities.

This concept also applies to the employee experience. They start off not knowing much about your organization, but ultimately they will be the ones “telling” your story to your guests. How can you create a welcoming environment, intrigue them with new information and skills, and engage them in your brand so they will WANT to share your story?

If you could do this, both with your guests and employees, wouldn’t that be music to your (and their) ears?

Thanks for reading!

Matt

In case you are interested, the song that most inspired this post was “Manhattan Project” by Rush.  Below is a video of just the lyrics, but I challenge you to close your eyes, put on some headphones and just listen. (If you are reading this in an email, click here to view the video.)

Everyone gets a trophy and the customer is always right

These concepts might seem light-years apart, but it occurred to me the other day that they actually came from the same thought process.

And while that thought process had some good intentions, it’s the execution that muddled things up.

“The customer is always right”, I believe, was intended to communicate how important it is to take care of a customer’s needs, not that they could never be wrong.  The execution, though, in many places is that the customer never IS wrong, creating an environment where the customer is coddled and catered to no matter how they act or how wrong they are.

To me, that’s wrong.  It teaches (and has taught) many people to take advantage of service providers, to scream and yell to try to get what they want, to belittle and insult those who don’t give in to their demands.

For many years I have subscribed to a different point of view: The customer may not always be right, but they DO need to be treated with respect.

This way, we take care of the customer without tipping the scales of decency, right/wrong and consistency.  It’s such a slippery slope when we bend over backwards to appease one when the only reason we are doing so is because they made lots of noise.

Now let’s look it’s not-so-distant-cousin: Everyone gets a trophy.

Again, the impetus of this was to be sure people understood how their efforts contributed to the teams’ success.  The problem, again, is in the execution.

Instead of saying to an individual, this is what you did and how it impacted others, we blindly blanket the accomplishment so everyone gets the same thing.  I’ve written before about how treating everyone the same is NOT ACTUALLY FAIR, and this is a perfect example.  We’ve over-elevated the weaker players and diminished the “outstandingness” of the great players all at the same time.  Not so well played.

So how are these two related, you ask?  Because they are blanket concepts that do not allow for individual thought or expression.  “The customer is always right” doesn’t allow us the latitude to surmise that maybe they aren’t right, and “everyone gets a trophy” prevents us from providing individual recognition to those who need it, in a way that is meaningful to them.

And the more that I think about these two concepts, the more I am convinced that they are two of the worst things to happen to modern leadership.  But the thing to keep in mind was that they started out as ideas with some merit, but wound up producing results that were less than favorable.

My question to you is… what processes or policies have YOU implemented that didn’t turn out the way you planned?  Next question… what could have done differently to ensure a better outcome?

Last question: did you recognize things were going south and have the intestinal fortitude to stop it before it became a massive quagmire?

Quagmires are hard to reverse.  Best to catch these things early.

Thanks for reading.

Matt

 About the author: When Matt was growing up, he LOVED playing football. The muddier the field, the better. One season, his team didn’t win a game.  Not one game. They tried and they practiced and they came close a couple of times, but in the end they came up short in every game. They didn’t get a trophy for showing up, they got speeches about trying harder and working hard for success. Trophies collect dust. Inspiration creates champions, even if the scoreboard doesn’t agree.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quality service, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder

As I am getting ready to leave for my epic-mega-coaster-palooza-extravaganza tour, I started thinking about what sort of service experiences I would be expecting at the various parks we’ll be visiting. Since a person’s perception of the service they receive is largely subjective, you really could say that like beauty, quality service is in the eye of the beholder.  So I might expect something different than my friends, and we might even interpret the exact same situation in very different ways.

Now, you might think that as someone who writes about and teaches customer service tactics, I would have really high expectations.

Turns out, I don’t.

You might remember a story about Kordell who was a stand out employee on our trip last year.  His behaviors were actually over-and-above my expectations, which is probably why he was so memorable.

All I really want the employees to do is reinforce that I made the right decision to visit that particular business.

So how do they do that? In my mind, it starts with a smile. It’s a cliche, and everyone talks about it, but that’s probably because it’s often the first impression we have of how that service interaction will go. It truly does set the tone.

Second… Engage me in some way. Say hello, how ya doing, tell me you like my hat… Whenever you can do to acknowledge me as a person. It doesn’t have to be a huge gesture or a long conversation, but it does need to be sincere, and it helps (if conditions allow) for this to be accompanied by eye contact – but that’s not a prerequisite.

Last month I had the chance to go to Kemah Boardwalk, just south of Houston. There is a wooden roller coaster there called the Boardwalk Bullet. It’s a great ride, but what enhanced my experience even more was the operator who was bantering back and forth over the microphone with the guests, myself included.  When he noticed I had a little strap to hold my glasses on, he made a comment like, “this guy came prepared!”.

When he saw a guest in line with a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shirt, he jokingly said, “No turtles are allowed to ride.”  He never spoke directly to me, but he made the experience much more fun and enjoyable.  I took a few extra rides just to hear what was he was going to say.

The final thing that makes a good interaction (in my mind) is some sort of send off.  “Thanks for visiting”, “Have a great day”, yadda, yadda, yadda.  Just SOME sort of acknowledgement that I chose to spend my time with you.

For example, the other day I was at the grocery store, and the cashier was as pleasant as could be.  The bagger wasn’t exceptional, but he wasn’t a dullard, either. What stuck with me was that when he was done bagging my groceries, there was no, “thanks”, no “enjoy the ice cream”… nothing.  He crossed his arms and looked toward the next customer coming down the line.  It was like as soon as my food was in the bag, I ceased to exist.  I didn’t think it bothered me that much until I realized that that was the thing I remembered most about my experience there.  It was last, and a lasting impression.

So that’s it:  Smile, engage me, and thank me.

What are your expectations?  Do you expect more or less?  How about your guests? What do they expect?

I’ll be reporting along the way on our trip… I’m excited to see how it goes!

Thanks for reading!

Matt