I enjoy helping people reset their attitudes when they are having a bad day. Coffee houses are great places to find subjects, and I have characterized the greeting as one of the most important moments in the encounter between a front line employee and the customer.

Standing in line at one of my favorite coffee houses recently, I noticed the cashier uncharacteristically disconnected with her customers. There was a long line and, to be fair, there were some customers who were less than prepared for ordering. The cashier was overtly annoyed, looking sideways at a co-worker and rolling her eyes. She turned back to the guests in line dispassionately and continued her disinterest for the next several customers.

I decided I would try to reset this usually friendly person. When it was my turn at the counter, the cashier barely looked at me and said “yeah?” It was really troubling because I know she can be so friendly and courteous. Hiding behind her baseball cap, she was not going to look up so I stayed silent for just a moment. She raised her eye level and was about to snarl when I said, in a very cheerful voice, “Hello. How is your day going?” She replied, “Could be better.” I commiserated that I had had a few of those days recently. Then, either out of curiosity or just to retort, she asked, “So how are you doing?” I told her I was excellent. Surprised, she paused and said, “Well then I will be excellent, too.”

As I waited for my order, I watched as her attitude toward subsequent customers had changed, and she reverted to her typical friendly self.

Walking out the door, past a growing line of customers, the cashier looked over at me with a smile. Her outlook for the day had changed. Sometimes all it takes is one moment to change the course of another person’s day.

Be the Moment.

Live Big – Think Big – Give Big

© 2013 Kevin T. McCarney. All rights reserved.



One Response to Changing Attitudes

  1. […] moments in the encounter between a front line employee and the customer.  In any service business, the challenge is to motivate the front line workers to be cheerful – well, at least courteous – … in our […]

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