Friday, July 25, 2008

Internships, Jobs and Careers: There Is No Such Thing as an Unimportant Job

Today my younger daughter and I had lunch at a nice restaurant in West LA where we have eaten before and had excellent service. But, today, with the restaurant half empty (a summer Friday in Los Angeles), the service was lousy.

The waitress, who was off-putting, missed every opportunity to provide a pleasant dining experience. One small example pointed out by my daughter:

She and I shared a platter of miniature samples of the dessert. Then my daughter ordered a whole piece of cheesecake. The waitress asked hadn’t the cheesecake been on the sample plate? Yes, and now my daughter wanted the whole piece.

As soon as the waitress left, my daughter told me the waitress should have said: “I’m so glad you found a dessert you especially like. I’ll bring it right out.”

As a coach of teens and young people, I find it hard to believe that this waitress can easily change her mindset when she has a more “serious” position. I can picture her in a meeting with her future employer’s important client. Instead of graciously responding to the client’s interest in a new company offering, she replies: “Don’t you have enough of a similar product already?”

The point of this story? Even in jobs that are “unimportant” to you (except for the paycheck and tips, obviously), you must work on cultivating the correct mindset. Then when you have a job that you really want, you’ll be ready to be an excellent addition to your employer’s team.

Tip for those of you who want to really get the concept of fabulous customer service: Read “Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service” by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles with a foreword by my favorite business guru Harvey Mackay.

This is a book of few words and monumental ideas. Years ago, when I was communications officer at the Visiting Nurse Association of Los Angeles, I organized a one-day workshop for top management based on this “simple” book.

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1 comment:

Phyllis Zimbler Miller said...

In fairness I have to add that the hostess at the restaurant was terrific and exceeded my standard of fabulous customer service.

When she could, she stepped in and acted as our substitute waitress/busboy.