Part of the mission statement of the company I work for says, "Put your customers and employees first and profits will follow." The company I work for has gone from nothing to controlling over 60% of its respective market. Additionally, it has grown 7-10% annually for its 55 year history. I promise I won't make this a billboard (which is why I'm not mentioning who I work for), but my point in this is showing that our company lives service. Many businesses say things like this, but I would be able to make a compelling argument that they do the contrary. In life, when I'm able to come across a business that operates to serve its customers, it is extremely refreshing.
I've found throughout my working years that I've been willing to pay more for excellent service, have the knowledge that I'll be able to get someone with a brain on the other line, or deal with a business that uses good old common sense.
How many times have you been at the grocery store only to spend the same amount of time or more waiting on line? I do 95% of the grocery shopping for our family, so I've spent a bunch of time on lines. Think about it-- you've spent all this time filling your cart to spend money and then you have to wait even more to spend that money. I know some people claim they want you in that line, so you'll spend more on the candy/magazines et al in the check out lines. I may be in the minority, but I can't remember the last time I've bought anything there. Our grocery budget is tight, and I don't want to waste the money on garbage I didn't plan on buying in the first place. So, at the end of the day, most grocery trips to the mega store are frustrating at best.
|Mike looks like Johnny Corporate at the end of the line.|
I've been to Trader Joe's many times, but today was a little different. I kept hearing bells going off by the cash registers. I know that they typically open lanes when lines start forming, but there were not a ton of people in the store at the time I was there. I was confused. I kept shopping (spent less than I would have in a big store for better stuff) and proceeded to the check out line. There were two people in front of me, so I started eyeballing the bison jerky. Not being one to buy when I'm done shopping, I resisted but will have it on "the list" for next week.
Then, a really cool thing happened; "Betty" came over, and said "I'm opening a new lane for you." Understand, there were only two people in front of me, and they had carry baskets.
"Really?" I replied.
"We know that a great way to serve our customers is to serve them quickly."
One of the books I'm currently reading is called "Thou Shalt Prosper" by Rabbi Daniel Lapin. In it he writes "When I refer to service, I do not mean serving the customer, I mean instilling in ourselves a love of service....If you don't think much of other human beings, well, then you are never going to be much good at customer service; and I think you will find other shortcomings in your life, too." Whether "Betty" thinks much of other human beings, I'll never know. However, actions do speak louder than words and the genuine way she conducted herself makes me believe she does.
"Betty" has made a lifelong customer out of this family because of her commitment to service. As she has served our family and I'm sure many others, their business will continue to grow and prosper.
I'm sure I'm not the only customer that "Betty" opened a new lane for today. For me, her simple act made me ask a few questions of myself. Am I serving my wife and children properly? Do I serve my employees and customers properly? Am I serving my church properly? How should I serve?
Serviam(!) is the first of my morning prayers. It is translated to "I will serve." I learned of this prayer during a recollection a few years ago, and from my view, it perfectly sets your first priority for the day. "Service," as my father has said, "can be your highest calling." I know that I fall short daily in my endeavors to serve to my fullest potential. However, I also know that I can continue to strive to serve every day and do my best to make the next one better than the last.