Over 85% of the jobs in the United States are service oriented. These services may focus external of the business such as a customer service representative or any employee who interacts with customer making a purchase. Other service position focus internally such as an administrative department or IT department of a company.
Let’s take a look at those roles in which the services provided directly impact the image of a company, the future of its employees and sales. As consumers we carry an expectation when making a purchase. Our expectation falls in line with the quality or expense of the item we are going to purchase. Therefore, our expectations when at a fast food restaurant are different from that of a four-star restaurant. Can we agree on this?
I have to give kudos to an employee at the MacDonald’s in Jeffersontown, Kentucky. I went in to purchase a plain cheese burger for my mother-in-law. The restaurant was fairly busy. After standing in line for a short time, I placed my order, paid, waited and when handed a bag, I walked out. Before I stepped off the sidewalk, a female employee came after me and said, “Mam, I’m sorry, we gave you the wrong burger. That isn’t a plain cheese burger.” A little surprised with her effort in the midst of a lunch rush, I followed her in to trade what was in my bag, for the correct special order burger. She handed me the new bag, smiled and apologized again.
I must admit, I walked out thinking two things: “Way to go McDonald’s for hiring such a good employee and that girl will go places.” She took her entry level, order-taking position at McDonald’s seriously. With so many jobs available in service positions, to be successful for both the employer and the employee, it is the front line employees (representatives of the business) who make the difference.
On the contrary to my experience at the fast food giant McDonald’s, I was recently doing weekly shopping at the Stoneybrook Kroger. I went in the morning in the middle of the week; not a really busy time for the grocery. I went through the store with my list and coupons filling our family’s food needs. With the list fulfilled I proceeded to the checkout. After completely unloading the cart, I remembered an item I didn’t pick up. So I asked the cashier where the humus could be found. She looked at me blankly and said, “I have no idea. I’m up here all day. I don’t know where anything is in the store.” She went back to ringing up the groceries making no effort to ask someone else where the item could be found.
Holding back my laugh and lecture of this twenty-something, I shook my head, and finished my transaction. Looking at her badge, I was hoping to find a trainee sticker or some reason she wouldn’t have a clue where to find items in the store. There was no indication of being a recent addition to the Kroger team. I will find humus elsewhere, but the sad thing is that the cashier will go nowhere. She is a “front line” representative of the Kroger Company and has no idea where to find things in the store.
I will gladly extend grace to customer a representative who are obviously having a bad day but still shows up and tries. And to those in entry-level positions who take the opportunity seriously as a proving ground for their future, “good for you”!
To those who are in a position of hiring or of mentoring the new employees or young adults in a business, PLEASE, help these young people learn early in their careers, how doing even the most entry-level position with care and excellence will make all the difference in where they find themselves down the road.
All the best,