Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sack the Sad Sack!

The other day I went to the grocery store. It was a quick stop to pick up a handful of items. I’m sure the cashier was tired … but still. I went through the line with no eye contact and not even one word. He didn’t tell me what my total was, I was expected to look at the screen and figure it out for myself. Of course, at the end of our exchange (if you want to call it that), I got no, “Thank you” or “Have a nice day.”


Those little things can make the difference between a mediocre experience and a great one. I didn’t need a toothy grin and a whole lot of small talk, a simple, “Did you find everything?”, a total at the end of my order and a “Thank you” would have sufficed. Okay, truth be told, I could have done without the Sad Sack expression, I didn’t need a slap-happy smile but something a little better than the dead man walking expression could have been good.

The little things mean a lot to a customer but they also can do wonders for the customer service rep. My first job was as a cashier at a supermarket. It can be a long, grueling, and thankless job.

I’ve actually been that same cashier. I was miserable and probably made a few customers miserable (or at least annoyed). When I was the Sad Sack, my days were long and it seemed as if I had one bad experience after another. The time passed so slowly!

However, I had a few co-workers who had another experience. They had irate customers, messes in their lanes and price-checks that took way too long, but they weren’t Sad Sacks. Their experiences were different.

I decided to drop the Sad Sack and embrace a more positive attitude. All of those annoyances still happened but they weren’t so bad anymore. In fact, there were more positive people and experiences in my lane than I’d had before. Most importantly, time seemed to go by faster. It didn’t fly but it didn’t crawl or limp either.

I think the more positive experiences I had were based, in part, on the fact that when I dropped the negatively, I also started investing more in the little things. I made eye contact and small talk. I said “Thank you” and “Have a nice day.” Basically, I connected with my customers. Did I connect positively with each and every one? Of course not, but I did connect with most and usually behind every negative or trying customer was a pleasant one.

Sacking the Sad Sack made all of the difference.