I had a lovely surprise on Friday when I arrived at work (Livingstone Textiles in Bridport) to find these flowers waiting for me. A customer brought them in to say thank you for the help I had given her in working out her fabric needs. She has a fun and challenging project, renovating a vintage 1950s caravan, and it was complicated working out everything she needed.
It was such a pleasant surprise to be thanked in this way, because as far as I was concerned I was just doing my job. It seems as though my customer didn’t see it this way, though. She thought the attention and help she received was over and above what we have come to expect these days.
I’ve been thinking over the weekend – should I feel proud of having given her good service? I think not, because I still think that it is my job to give the best possible service to every customer who walks in the shop – whether they are buying a metre of elastic or placing a thousand pound curtain order. I am also not the only one who treats customers this way – all of our team give the same level of service, and have since my boss took over the business a couple of years ago. And do you know what? It’s good for business! We are becoming known as a nice place to shop, and word of mouth is bringing us more customers.
Thinking back to my former career in IT makes me realise that not every workplace is like this. Often there is a culture of ‘just doing enough.’ Or different departments defending their territory instead of working together to give the customer the best service they can. It’s not nearly as much fun to work in an environment like that. If you do, what can you do? Well, you can be different, do your best regardless, and maybe even recruit others to your cause. Who knows how far the ripples might spread.