Connecting With People


I really enjoy going into places of business and observe the behavior of the employees when they are interacting with customers.

You really can learn a lot by watching and listening to people as they are conducting business.  For me, I am always looking for stories that possess a lesson for me to learn and one that I can share.

On Monday, I went to the grocery store before work, (I usually stop by a couple of times a week to pick up coffee or “supplies” (donuts or bagels) for the office staff).  When I went up to the checkout stand there was my usual early morning clerk “Gabe” smiling away as he was greeting his customers (even at 6 a.m. this man is happy).  This guy always gets an “A+” from me for customer service.

When I approached the checkout Gabe said hello and wished me a great morning, then stepped away and let a co-worker take over.  This woman was less than friendly, she did not make eye contact, and she just put my items in a bag and slid it down the counter for me to pick up.

As I picked up my bag, I wished her a good day, she did not respond.  The next woman in line had several cold remedies that she was purchasing.  The checker asked abruptly if she were sick, she replied, “No, her children were.”  The checker said, “That is good because I do not want to be around sick people.” She did not even look up at the woman to see that her mouth had dropped open.

Not only was the woman surprised at her comment, but so were the rest of us that were within earshot of the checkout stand.

As I walked to my car, I realized that this woman had not learned one of the most valuable lessons when working with people; that is being there in the moment during the encounter.

Whether you are serving customers in some capacity or working with a coworker you must be able to connect with them, “by being there” so that you can understand them and they you.

It is the personal connection that sets our interactions apart from others.  This woman was definitely no “Gabe” that is for sure.  She was not even close to being in the same category of a customer service representative as Gabe.

The difference between the two employees was like day and night.  It was so apparent that this employee did not find it necessary to add “the good stuff” to her encounters with customers.

This week my staff meeting will be about standardization of the customer service, we give in our business.  We must all strive to give our best, because I know that our customers will be able to tell if even one of us does not.

How do you keep your customer interaction score at a ten?

4 thoughts on “Connecting With People

  1. Hello Tina, Thanks for sharing this experience. The contrast between Gabe and his colleague also demonstrates the importance of self-awareness. I suspect the checker had no idea how she had made an impact! As ever, Martin


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