Smile, the most basic element of service

Smile is the most basic and essential element of service, but it seems that alot of us in service industry have either forgotten or are not bothered by it.  We cannot talk ‘service excellence’ when even a simple ‘smile’ that acknowledges the customer has not taken place.  Let me relate one of those incidents here.

I had a rough day at work; I felt sick, with a scratchy throat, an up-and-down fever and a pretty dry, uncomfortable cough for the past few days.  My boss knowing that I was sick was gracious to actually ask and pester me to get home and rest for the day.  I gladly accepted the offer.

Just before reaching home, I dropped by a convenience store to get some tidbits and chocolates for my kids … just feeling that I should be nice despite my lousy day.  I settled for a pack of tapioca chips and two pieces of ‘Timeout’ chocolates and headed straight for the cashier counter.  The transaction was pretty straight-forward, or should I say – a total absence of service.

The cashier lady who attended to me was first of all devoid of a smile.  There was no human touch.  A smile could have cheered me up a little, and helped, temporarily, to forget that I was sick.  But, no; the lady was not about to console me.  She was not about to relieve me, in any way.  And then the next thing happened, subtle as it was…

Just try to picture or imagine this process – she put my stuffs into a plastic bag and placed it down with the handler facing her.  She  proceeded to take my money, opened up the cash register to get the change for me, and then handed me the change.  And then, she turned and started talking to the other cashier next to her.

Gosh, she has not taken notice that I was a customer!  First, she did not smile.  Second, she did not even bother to hand the bag of snacks to me.  Third, she did not even said a simple ‘Thank you’.  Fourth, she actually ignored me.  I was very sure I did not do anything to provoke such a cold reception.

Friends, let us not talk about sevice excellence, exceeding customer expectations, when a mere smile, and the courtesy of acknowleding a customer through simple acts of gesture are not exhibited.


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