No, that’s not a That’s What She Said joke. (Oh, who am I kidding? Yes it is.)
Welcome back to installment 2 in my series of low-impact ways to make the world better. This one is either going to be the easiest one or the hardest one in the series – depending on your personality. Here’s all I want you to do: Give a clear and honest “thank you” to someone in a customer-facing position.
I’m not talking about leaving a decent tip for your waitress. (You should be doing that already.) I’m not talking about leaving a huge tip for your waitress. (That would defeat the purpose of this series … though I’m sure your waitress wouldn’t mind.) And I’m not talking about simply bubbling, “Thanks! You’re doing a great job!” to the cashier as you’re grabbing your receipt.
I mean holding an actual conversation in which you acknowledge the difficulty of the situation and specifically point out how this person made that situation easier.
You need some examples? Let’s say you just wrapped up one of those online tech support chats and “Dave” helped you resolve a computer problem. That’s an easy one. You compliment Dave on his insights and his ability to troubleshoot and you thank him for stopping you from banging your head against the wall. But how about this one: You just wrapped up one of those online tech support chats and you DIDN’T get your problem resolved. Dave still asked some pretty insightful questions, didn’t he? And Dave didn’t make you feel stupid for getting your machine this screwed up in the first place, right? Tell him that.
“Dave, I really want to thank you for your help. I respect how challenging your techie job must be, dealing with all of us non-techies, and I’m very grateful to you for doing your best.”
Or what about the lady at the DMV? How much would it mean to her if you went over, took a number, waited patiently, then, when your number was called, stepped up to the counter and said, “Esther, I don’t have any current need of the Department’s services. But I want to thank you and your cohorts for your helpful knowledge of laws and policies and your great patience in working with those of us who try to find ways around them. Keep up the good work!”
You get the idea, right? This one doesn’t cost you anything. You just need to make someone’s day.
Now go forth and bestow smiles.