Friday, September 24, 2010

If You Work In Customer Service

During my senior year in college and the year that followed, I worked as a teller at a bank, and sometimes I filled in as the receptionist at the front desk if they needed me to. I saw so many people, always greeting them with a smile, always trying to show an interest in them as a customer.

I remember one morning quite clearly, it changed my outlook on what I said and if I meant what I said. An elderly woman pulled up to the drive through, and I greeted her with my standard, "Good morning! How are you today?"

She paused. She responded slowly.

"Oh, not so good, honey. My brother is in the hospital down in Springfield. They don't think he's going to make it through the day."

I was stunned. Not at the information, just at the fact that she told me and was so sincere and genuine as she spoke to me, visibly upset as the words came out of her mouth.

It wasn't the normal, "I'm good," or "I'm fine," answer. She told me what was really going on in her life. For a brief moment, I was a part of her really bad day.

After that, I stopped asking that question. I don't think I even ask it to people I know a little better than that sweet old lady. I stick with, "Hi! Beautiful weather we're having, huh?" or maybe, "Boy, I sure hope the rain lets up."

Is that bad? Is it bad that it was so hard for me to have someone share that with me? I guess it was just that I realized I wasn't asking to be genuine. I was asking out of formality.

Yesterday I received a replacement debit card in the mail. I called to activate it, and the girl on the other end said, "Hello, Chrissy. How was your day today?"

I paused.

"Not very good actually." I held back tears.

I'm not sure what went through her mind when I said it, and I'm not sure why I told her the truth. I guess if you're having a bad day and someone asks you that question, depending on if anyone else has asked yet, maybe you're prone to be honest?

"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. I sure hope tomorrow is better."

Thanks, Regions Customer Service. I'm not sure if it will be, but that was a really good, standard response.


Nel said...

Well... I hope today is better too.... if you need to talk or cry to some one call or email me ;o)

This Daddy said...

Sucks having bad days doesnt it. Look at it this way Chrissy, you have great kids, a cool husband and you are a nice and good person. Your bad days will only last as long as YOU let them. So if YOU allow yourself to have a bad day then you will. Pep it up chick, you have the weekend too look forward to.

Cheryl Sybert said...

I find that most of the time when people ask me that question they really don't care to hear the answer. They are just asking it because it's the norm. I think people say it all the time just because it's "proper", but how many of them stop to really listen to the answer. I even ask it sometimes and then think "that was so rude because I really didn't even listen to what they had said". So I have been trying to work on this. I either don't ask it if I don't want to hear the answer, or I do ask if I do truly care how the person is.
That's just my take on the subject. I really do hope that your days start to get better!

Andrea said...

When we went to a restaurant a while back a young man I know from work said, "Hey, Andrea, how's it going." I apparently missed the implied period at the end of the sentence and replied, "Oh not too bad," intending to continue with "how about you?" However, as I responded he gave me a weird look and kept walking. He never intended for me to actually answer him! I think that "How are you," and "What's going on," and other such "questions" are used more as standard greetings anymore. From now on when someone asks me how I am I think I'll just say, "'Sup, Dude." ;)

Kelly @ Blessed Mommy, Blessed Wife said...

Hi Chrissy, how are you? Ha, sorry, I couldn't help it! Hope that wasn't offensive ;) And, I hope you'll have a better day tomorrow. I'm trying to be REALLY optimistic given that I'm bedridden and won't walk for several more weeks. In the last week, I've contemplated the answer to this question every time I was asked. I really hadn't given this topic much thought prior to my accident. I guess I never had much of a problem answering with the standard "I'm fine" or "good, thanks". But, the truth is that I'm not fine right now and I really want to answer "I'm really crappy, actually" but as a society that's just not the way we roll. I just pray that no one asks me during this season because who knows what is bound to slip out of my mouth. I'll just blame it on the pain killers, ha! Or, I think I'll institute Andrea's "Sup, Dude?" :) Happy thoughts!!

Britton said...

Crissy, I LOVED your post. Great words with such truth. I was on bedrest this time last year, and I didn't want to come across as if I were complaining, so often times I would just say, "I'm good. Thanks." But that wasn't always the case. By genuinely asking, you truly can make a difference in someone's life. You never know when a kind word or gesture can change one's life and affect them for the better. Thank you for a great post! Hope your day gets better!

Only God knows how many apples are in each seed.

Steadfast Ahoy! said...

Hey, Britton, your last line made me think...deep.

I am sorry to hear you are having a difficult time. This fall's Precept Study is the second half of the book of Isaiah and this is what I've learned so far: faint or wait. It is the usual human tendency to faint in fear, fatigue, or trouble. The opposite response would be to wait upon the Lord, because He gives strength and energy to those who do. I hope you can find what you are looking for in Him and "mount up with wings like eagles, run and not get tired, walk and not become weary." Is. 40:31

Deidre said...

Well, I have to comment on this post too b/c they seem to be hitting close to home lately. =) I agree that few people actually care how you're doing. In fact, I've done a personal experiment where I don't answer people when they ask me and not a single one as noticed! Let's just hope our true friends actually do care. But, true is the operative word. I got together with an old group of friends last week. Nobody would get off their cell phone (posting to FB, etc.) long enough to even have a conversation, even if they asked a question! In fact, they’d just zone out mid-conversation. Sometimes I just want to throw all cell phones in a huge river. I know I'll have a tough time when my kiddo wants one, as I think the world has gotten very rude, thinking they need to be on a phone while with people in person, while driving, or in the middle of another conversation. Okay, off my soapbox. =) I hope your weekend was wonderful.

Post a Comment