I'm Thankful for Customer Service Professionals

Note: I originally ran this post the same time last year. It's an important message that I think is worth running again. One small addition - check out this powerful story about what happened when college students started seeing a janitor as more than just a janitor.

While most Americans are enjoying Thanksgiving dinner, retail employees in stores across the country will be hard at work. That's because a long list of retail stores will be open on Thanksgiving.

Those hardworking employees deserve our thanks. In many cases, they have no choice but to work the holiday. 

There are other customer service employees who deserve our thanks too. They're the unsung heroes of Thanksgiving (and other holidays). Here are just a few we should give thanks to:

Thank you to the airline employees, airport workers, and security personnel who make Thanksgiving travel possible. Likewise, much appreciation is due to gas station attendants, convenience store employees, fast food workers, and coffee shop baristas who allow millions of Americans to take a road trip to see their families.

Thank you to the hotel associates who make our families feel at home when there's not enough room in our actual home. 

Thank you to the chefs, servers, bussers, and other restaurant employees who feed so many people who'd rather not prepare a big feast or know they'll never do it quite as good as their favorite restaurant.

Thank you to the homeless shelter employees, social workers, and volunteers who help feed less fortunate families on Thanksgiving.

Thank you to the movie theater employees who give us all an outlet when we still want to spend time with family, but also want to get out of the house.

Thank you to the football players, officials, team employees, television employees, and stadium workers who all make it possible for us to watch football while we relax in the living room. Football may just be the one thing we actually have in common with some of our family members.

Thank you to the EMTs, hospital employees, police officers, and other emergency workers who come to our aid when we overdo it on turkey or get into an accident because the roads are so crowded.

Thank you to all of the people I forgot to mention for not getting too upset that I forgot them. You know I didn't mean it. I appreciate you too.

So many people will be working this Thanksgiving. If you should require their service, I hope you will treat them with kindness and respect. Thank them for all that they do to make it possible for so many of us to enjoy this day.


The impact of great ideas poorly executed

Years ago, I received a handwritten thank you card from someone I had interviewed for a Training Coordinator position. This really stood out for three reasons.

First, I'm a big proponent of using the handwritten note to create more personal relationships with your most important customers. 

Second, very few candidates for this position had bothered to send any form of follow-up correspondence, so the card made this particular candidate even more distinctive.

Third, well, it's better just to show you. Here's the front of the card:

The message inside was the standard "Thank you for interviewing me, I'm very interested in the job." However, it was the post script that really caught my attention:

For my readers who aren't familiar with San Diego, the Hillcrest neighborhood has a large LGBT population. I'll never know why this person felt the need to point this out in a thank you card. However, this comment did make it easy for me to rule out this candidate for the position.

This card also serves as an excellent example that it's sometimes a better idea not to do something at all than to do it poorly.