Recently, a business associate and I went to call on a retail customer, and we experienced one of the real challenges in visiting a very large regional shopping center that is over 2 km long, with in excess of 300 shops spread over three shopping levels.
Well when we first arrived at the center and had parked our car, the first thing we did was look for a center directory or the customer service desk, but without any success. As we weaved our way past a host of customers and shoppers who all seemed to be well aware of where they were going, out of the crowd appeared one of the shopping center security officers. He was as you may well expect dressed in a black suit, white shirt and dark tie, with the shopping center logo emblazoned on his jacket.
Seizing the opportunity to seek some assistance from someone who would no doubt know where the store was located, I approached him and asked for directions. He smiled at us both and indicated that the store was on the next level, only some 75 meters from where we were standing.
Before we could thank him, he added.
'However, please allow me to show where it is.'
We thanked him, but said that there was no need, as we would now be able to find it with the help of his directions. His immediate reply came as a real surprise to us both.
'No not at all, please follow me, it is not very far and it is all just part of my job.'
Almost without realizing it, we were walking with him and moved onto the escalator that took us to the next level of the shopping center and the short walk to store. As we walked, he asked how our day had been and then added that it was a very busy day in the center, mainly because it was school holidays. When we reached the store, we both thanked him for his courtesy and asked for his name.
He replied with a grin on his face, 'my name is Rob and I suppose you could say that it is not such a great name, given the work that I do here as a security officer.'
We both laughed at his zany sense of humor and once again thanked him for his courtesy and great customer service. As he moved away, he replied for the second time, 'it is a pleasure, all just part of my job.'
The visit to our retail customer lasted about 20 minutes and then we head back towards the car park, only this time we were more certain which way we had to go.
As we walked along the shopping mall level we came across the customer service desk which we could not find on our arrival at the shopping center, so we stopped to speak to the customer service attendant at the counter. We asked if we could speak to the center manager and was quizzed in a friendly manner about why we wanted to see him - our answer was that we wanted to give some feedback about a positive customer service experience we had just had. Sadly, the center manager was not available; however, the customer service attendant suggested we could speak to the duty manager in charge of center security. So we decided that we would go down to the security office located on the loading dock on the first level of the center.
On arriving at the security office we were greeted by the duty manager who had a very apprehensive look on his face, which we concluded was due to the fact that when similar contact was made with him by members of the public, it was to lodge a complaint of some sort. When we told him we wanted to give some feedback about a great service experience offered by of one of his team members, his face changed to a positive expression as we went on to praise Rob for making our visit to the center an enjoyable one. We asked him to pass on our thanks to Rob and make sure that the center manager was made aware of what he had done for us.
As we left the office and walked back to our car, we both discussed the likelihood that our expression of appreciation would make its way back to Rob and to the center manager. We agreed that whilst it would have been great if the praise was passed on to Rob we realized that he would have no doubt been the recipient of many other expressions of appreciation from other customers just like us, who had experienced Rob's all part of my job attitude to his work. Whether other people would have taken the time to express their appreciation to his boss as we did - is a matter of speculation, the fact that we did express it to Rob and then to his manager, was all that mattered to us at the time.
There is little doubt in my mind that people like Rob don't walk their talk selectively, it just isn't in their nature to be obligingly beyond expectations to one or two people as he did with us and then not do the same with others. I am sure Rob's job as a security officer is full of daily challenges with lot's of not so good things to deal with, so no doubt doing what he did for us and I am certain many others, is more than likely the part of his job that makes his day just that more enjoyable and rewarding.
There can be nothing better in life than to offer caring and genuine service to others and not expect anything in return, however, I am sure that the praise you receive for a job very well done, will never go astray - will it!