service statement: pay it forward continued…

thinking of you

It is impossible to completely remove my customer experience leader hat. On a shopping expedition of any sort, I can’t help but overhear conversations between customers and associates/management.

What does the exchange look and sound like? What types of people already shop there? These and other questions I ask to help guide my choices.

a shocked checker

Last week, while placing my groceries on the conveyer belt at Winco Foods, I turned off the music playing on my iPhone when I overheard a conversation between the checker and the elderly couple at the cash wrap.

It seemed as though the couple had to choose which items they were going to leave as they did not have enough money to cover the bill. I quietly removed the debit card from my pocket, put down the bag of frozen blueberries into the shopping bag and circled back to the checker.

“Please put the remainder on this,” I offered to the couple and the checker. “Are you sure? People don’t do this” answered the checker.

What I want to know is why the heck not? This was not the first time I helped someone in line while grocery shopping. No one could believe that I would help a complete stranger.

what was my motive?

The couple asked for my phone number so they could pay me back. Knowing I was able to help someone who needed it was reward enough for me, so I  declined. Instead I suggested that the next time they see someone who could use their assistance, pay if forward.

Paying it forward can take many forms. Of course it can be money, but it could be your time, a shoulder to cry on, a hug when you feel alone and destitute, a warm meal. The list is endless.

I gave them both hug before rolling my cart out to the car.  They promised to keep me in their prayers. To me, this was more than sufficient.

lesson learned: keep your heart open

It is never wrong to do the right thing. In customer experience, it is easy to become distracted by drama. There are those you can never please, and others you may not care to oblige. I found the secret to great customer service is to carefully consider why you are offering service in the first place.

When is the last time you did something completely unexpected to help someone you didn’t know? Share your thoughts and stories and let’s continue to pay it forward.

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