Customer service is not a fantastically difficult thing. It really isn’t. And yet, if you’ve shopped ANYWHERE or bought ANYTHING in the past few days, think back about the service that you received. It’s interesting to me that some people think that certain jobs should involve great service and some jobs don’t matter. Let me give you some examples.

I like to eat. This is not a secret. I like donairs. This is also not a secret. Around the corner from me is a fantastic little shop (I’m not going to say what it is because this is not a good story and I really do like their food). They make a great donair and a really fantastic bubba donair sub (garlic butter on a donair sub). What they don’t do is provide anything that resembles customer service. When you walk into a place and they say “what do ya want?”, that’s not a good sign. The food is great, but if it were even a little bit less fantastic, I just wouldn’t go there anymore. Because even when I’m just picking up a bubba donair sub I would love it if they were just a smidge nicer, that would be great and instead of talking about them anonymously, I’d be talking about how fantastic they were and they’d be getting free advertising.

I just played laser tag on Saturday night. No, I didn’t write this blog when I was 14. I legitimately played laser tag, at age 33, just on Saturday. It was one of the most fun things I’ve done in a long time and I’ll do it again so help me, possibly this weekend, probably next, definitely for my birthday in a few weeks. In any case, I didn’t come here to talk about how awesome laser tag is (even though it is), I’m here to talk about bad customer service. He rolled his eyes when two of our party had to use the washroom before we started, he read the “super important rules” to us as though he were reciting the dictionary and after each game he basically spoke to us as though we were 11 year olds, which is probably what he’s more used to as a “laser tag professional”, but still. Not great.

And then came Genevieve. Genevieve is a waitress at the Boston Pizza in Bayers Lake.  Following laser tag (by the way, I led my team to a 2-1 record and was our leading scorer) we headed to Boston Pizza to get some grub and watch some hockey. I ordered some delicious shrimp tacos and to drink, an iced tea. Genevieve brought me my drink and I promptly removed the straw and placed it on the table. I don’t drink using straws (the only exception being a milkshake). Straws are, as far as I’m concerned, an absolute waste. I just don’t get it. Never have. Never will. In any case, Boston Pizza has free refills on soft drinks and iced tea but when Genevieve brought me my refill I was shocked to find that she had not brought a straw. It probably doesn’t seem like a big deal to you, but I’ve been doing this for years and no one has EVER left the straw when they brought a refill. I used to ask for no straw and they brought me one anyways so many times that I just stopped. I gave one of the highest percentage tips that I’ve ever given for a simple dinner that night. But more importantly, I think so anyways, I made it a point to call Genevieve over, tell her that I noticed her fantastic customer service and tell her that no one had ever noticed it before. She seemed to genuinely appreciate the compliment and I hope she enjoyed the tip.

There are two points to this whole story. The first is that customer service, especially bad customer service, has an impact. If you suck at service, you better have one hell of a product. If you don’t, you’re going to be out of business, end of story. The second and, for me, more important part of the story is that we don’t recognize good service enough. When someone does a good job, tell them they did a good job. It takes no effort and it helps drive the very behavior that you’re aiming for.

This isn’t a post about bad service at a pizza shop or a disinterested laser tag employee.

This is about a waitress who noticed that I don’t need a straw.