As a customer, do you ever get a cashier or waitress with a chronic blank stare and a facial expression that they want to kill you? I wanted to try avoiding the temptation of taking this personally, and instead assume they aren’t the happiest at the moment. For all I know they may have to work 70 hours a week, struggle with chronic pain or depression, or simply having a bad day.
What are some things one can do as a customer to make these human beings’ day a bit better?
PartDigital: Be pleasant, show sincere gratitude and if it’s not too busy you could compliment them on something they’re wearing or is unique about them. One thing I️ also do if the customer before me is difficult I’ll say something along the lines of “you handled that customer like a pro.” Then if appropriate I’ll leave a large tip in the jar and make sure they see it.
If you really want to go out of your way then talk to a manager and say how helpful they were. Retail usually also has a formal process for praising service; believe it or not it was one of the metrics we tracked while I️ worked retail.
For a waitress there are a few things you should always do. If it’s near the end of the night you should ALWAYS leave on time and tip more than 20%. The server is very tired and just wants to go home. Also realize that most people tip less than 20% so servers really rely on the few generous customers that they get. I️f you’re there during a busy time don’t try to cheer them up, just be a low maintenance customer and tip them at 20% (In cash if possible).
Basically don’t act entitled and show sincere gratitude for the service they’re providing.
Source: Wife is a waitress and I️ used to work retail.
beaucoup_de_fromage: Look them in the eye.
Treat them like a person instead of a machine. Retail is extremely dehumanizing. I try to employ as much empathy as I can, since it goes both ways, but being treated like you’re invisible (or worse, incompetent) really wears on you.
You don’t need to be fake or gush or even make conversation at all if you don’t want to. Just look me in the eye, because I am a person, too.
smooshie: Customer surveys! A lot of times these are tracked by management, and people who are mentioned by name (either positively or negatively) get to hear about it. And at least at our store, getting mentioned a certain number of times gets you goodies like shirts and pins.
NB: On a lot of these surveys, be sure to put 5/5, 10/10, “Highly Satisfied”, etc. otherwise they may as well be a 0. Absolutely dumb IMO, but that’s how they work.
colourmecanadian: Honestly, even just acknowledging that I’m a person makes me feel better. I get so many people who respond to my “Hi there, how are you doing today?” with “Grande vanilla latte, no foam, non fat, extra hot,” etc etc, that when people actually respond “Good, you?” it stuns me, and it shocks me even more when they actually wait for an answer. Like I stop for a second because I’m not sure what to say. Don’t get me wrong, I have some amazing customers, and my regulars are pretty awesome for the most part, but so many people just expect us to act like vending machines: take their money, dispense their food/drink. It’s dehumanizing and makes it that much harder to enjoy the job.
Also, oh my god please say thank you. It doesn’t take much effort and it has the potential to make someone’s day. Lots of people don’t even get off their phones to order, and several of them will just walk up and take their drink, not respond to me saying “thank you,” and half the time they walk off with someone else’s drink because they weren’t even listening when I called out the drink that in NO WAY resembles their actual drink. It takes enough of my energy to pretend to be happy for these people, at least make it worth the effort. It’s so shitty to be treated like a machine.
Also, patience. We are only human, we make mistakes and we don’t do it on purpose, so please don’t get angry when we mess something up. There’s no malicious intent behind it.
sarautu: i’ve been on the service side of the desk, and know that there’s just a huge myriad of things that can make me have a blank-stare day or a “I want to kill you” day. No telling which thing has me upset/dead right now, so without knowing the poison, hard to pick the right cure.
when I’m the customer, I just try to take up as little of their energy as I can while still getting the job done. Be quiet. Let them do their thing. Don’t make small talk or extra work. Give them their money promptly. Be courteous and open to whatever communication needs to happen, like a “hello” or “thank you.”
EuroTrash_84: Offer them a better job.
mydogisanastronaut: I always write a nice email to the store or head office or whatever. You can tell them what store location and what employee. It’s nice to get positive feedback every now and then. Usually people only write comments if they’re mad :/
nonanthebarbarian: Don’t tell them to smile. Just be polite and kind and lead with your own smile and good cheer.
TopHatMrG: Being a bagger at a grocery store what I can say is don’t be difficult with your order such as requesting everything be double bagged. Personally what always works is tips, even like a buck or two.
Fannyclapper: Empathy. Figure out a way to
floggeriffic: I’ve frequently lifted the spirits of a random worker at McDonald’s, for instance, by waiting until they say, “can I help you?” Or “hi, can I help you?” And responding in a calm and friendly way, looking then straight in the eyes, and saying, “hi, how are you today?” They usually have just gone through 10 people just spitting an order at them while staring above their heads at the menu so it takes them by surprise for a second and they perk up, smile, and answer genuinely. I’ve gotten tons of, “good, you?” But also plenty of, “eh, could be better…” Or “not bad… Just waiting for someone to relieve me so I can go on break” and plenty more. I respond aptly, depending on their response, then transition to my order by saying, ” you know, I think it’s like a ….. while maintaining kind eye contact and usually they spend the rest of my visit in a visibly better mood. Genuine human interaction is rare and it doesn’t take much effort to break the monotony of the day.
ezlyamuzed: Use their name when you talk to them. Send in a note or email to their boss is fine, but for immediate impact and greater positive reaction/response, ask to speak to their boss. If you get to have both in front of you, make sincere compliments on the service, attention, whatever it is. Immediate satisfaction! Letter, and emails are not always recognized, and your kind words may never be seen. I’ve worked more than 25 years serving the public, and the compliments that are instant are most gratifying.
Anna_Mosity: I bust my butt at work, but customers mostly only comment when they think I’m falling short— like when I have to do three things at once and I’m managing to them all quickly and without messing anything up and am feeling pretty good, but then Dissatisfied Sally steps up to the counter glowering and loudly sighing like I’m a lazy, meandering bum who is utterly failing at my job and at life. It is SO NICE when somebody acknowledges all I’m juggling and how fast I’m trying to move. You will improve my life if you tell me you see how hard I’m working or that you see how many things juggling like a pro or that you wish there was a whole staff of employees just like me. Basically, just tell me the opposite of the soul-killing criticism that gets lobbed at me by strangers who seem to think I ought to just give up and kill myself.
Another easy way to make my day is by leaving a 5-Star review on Facebook or Google mentioning me. You don’t have to use my name if you can say when we interacted because it’s easy to figure out who was working when (“the brunette woman who works on Saturday afternoons is so great with kids”). A lot of companies give rewards to employees mentioned by name in positive reviews.
2kewl4mathsyo: Tip them. 100% of miserable service industry workers are there because they need the money
Intanjible: Personally, I always enjoyed when customers would actually put their requests in the forms of polite questions. Customers who come in with their “I’ll have”, “I’ll take”, “Let me get”, “Give me”, “I want”, and similar entitled shitbag phrases can go fuck right off.
Another thing I recommend is not ordering anything when the place is only open for another half hour or so if the place happens to be a restaurant.
Chrono978: Unexpected compliments that’s personal is always good, throws them off guard with happiness.
Bl4nkface: Just be a nice person, say thanks (and mean it) and maybe smile. That’s it.
Source: I work at retail.
pendragwen: Waiter here. Be patient, and show your appreciation with 20% or more.
mackrenner: Just be normal and polite.
Danecek: Living in the Czech Republic, you get a lot of people working customer service who aren’t very customer orientated and rarely smile. I’ve worked in customer service for most of my professional life and have found that greeting the cashiers with a smile, thanking them, and wishing then a lovely day/weekend usually breaks them into a smile. Especially those who seem unable to smile/are having a bad day.
At the time I thank then and wish them a great day they usually make eye contact and break a smile. I’ve had a lot of surprised looks and smiles because of it and I do this wherever I go.
Also tip! I basically tip 10% minimum when I go out and if the service or food is good I compliment them. People are too reluctant to compliment others when they do well. I never hold back and always compliment them if they’ve made my evening enjoyable.
Be humane. Be compassionate and think for a moment as to what they go through every day 🙂
All_doom_n_gloom: As someone with that blank stare and dead eyes who works in the retail industry, a simple smile will suffice. If you wanna make my day even better don’t complain about sales or coupons expiring. Oh yea and say thank you even if you don’t mean it lol. That’s all I got.
Also appreciate you asking that questions. Most people it seems don’t care or yell at us for things we cannot control.
My two cents lol
Have a nice day!
Edit: not trying to sound angry it’s just been a rough week. And I’m still at work. Lol apologies.
XanderS311: Fuck them, if they’re miserable to customers I’ll go somewhere else. Why should I put up with their shit attitude just because they’ve got a job they don’t like? If you’re being miserable in front of customers in the service industry then you’re in the wrong job.
I admit that I’m quick with criticism, but I’m also quick with praise. Excellent service should be noted and complimented, genuine appreciation is the best way to motivate someone.
However, it’s definitely not my job to cheer someone up whose job it is to serve me. In my line of work (field sales) I’d lose my job damn quick if I acted like that in front of my customers, why should service staff be treat differently?