Wednesday, December 28, 2011

It Shows.

My brother and I went down to the Neiman Marcus downtown on December 26.  We went because our mother had given me a bottle of perfume and my brother a bottle of cologne and we wanted to smell them before opening the package in case we wanted to trade them in for a smell that we preferred.
The store wasn’t too crowded (the reason we chose to go downtown instead of to NorthPark) and it was fun to see the store and look around a little.  The thing that stood out to me was the gal who was working at the men’s cologne counter.  She was darling and sweet and even though she knew that we weren’t going to buy anything, she went out of her way to make sure that we had a great experience – even providing my brother with some great samples of other colognes that she made up herself while we waited and chatted.  She had just gotten a new puppy and so we talked about that, about my brother’s dog (the best dog in the world, bar none), etc.  She had worked both Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas, so she had not been able to see her out-of-town family for the holiday.
Many other people in her situation would not have been so nice – see what happens the next time you go to the Post Office – but is the difference because of the NM training, or is it the individual?
Now I know that Neiman Marcus has great customer service and training for their employees (I am a product of their training – it was my first job after college.), and NM is known the world over for it.  The Container Store is another example of great training, combined with an employee-first culture.  But the more I think about it, I think the individual employee is what makes the difference.
You can give someone the best training in the world, but if they are an unhappy person, it will show.  If they are a person who feels put-upon, woe-is-me, what’s-in-it-for-me, and so on, they are never going to be the right employee.
So, let’s surround ourselves with happy people in 2012.  It shows.


  1. It DOES "show", and I never fail to tell a cordial, helpful clerk or cashier--esp. during busy seasons--how much I appreciate it.

    Know where, I do believe, I notice this most often? My local (Brunswick, Maine) Walmart! From the stocking clerks to the butchers to the cashiers to the service desk they are the nicest, most go-out-of-their-way to find prices/lead me to items I can't find/go to the back to bring something from un-shelved stock/special-order something & notify me when it's in/graciously accept returns/reply by phone to an emailed question or comment/tell me--when I tell them I didn't make it home w/something I my receipt shows that I paid for--to go get another one and bring it back so they can mark it Paid.

    Don't mean to sound like a Walmart stockholder; just an Amen to the fact that people tend to notice and appreciate friendly, kind treatment and reward it w/their patronage.

  2. So glad to know Neiman's still has wonderful customer service. I read "Minding the Store" more than a couple of decades ago and I remembered and adapted several of Mr. Stanley's principals in every job I have ever held. You are so right that attitude plays a big part of customer service. Good customer service is not just limited to retail. Nonprofit employees must also "give good customer service" from the receptionist right up to the ED and this "good customer service" should be given to everyone with whom we come in contact, be it donor, client and yes, even the occasional critic.

  3. I think saint ties with the mcdaniel dog for worlds best! Hard to travel with out Hugh! Happy new year sitting on a southwest plane where again customer service is key but it is the individual that takes it to the best level!

  4. Phoebe, I don't find the same level of service at our Wal-Marts in Dallas. Maybe we could use some transfers from Maine! In fact I almost used them as one of my bad examples in the post -- glad I didn't since you like them so much!

    Leslie, so true about non-profits! We talk about it all the time at CPD. Everyone needs to answer the phone with a smile and carry on from there!

    Jill, you are correct about the Saint and SW Airlines! Happy New Year to all!