If you’ve ever worked a customer service job, then you’re well aware of the challenge that rude or ungrateful customers present. Whether you’re a sales associate, restaurant waitress, or coffee shop barista, you’re bound to run into well over your fair share of customers who are meaner than necessary – and yet you still must serve them with a smile.
Thankfully, there are business owners out there – specifically one in Roanoke, Virginia – who are making an effort to help kindness and courtesy re-enter business and business interactions (1)!
A Simple Encouragement In Kindness
From the perspective of many customer service workers, manners have all but been diminished throughout the years, especially the manners of customers being served. Many are rude towards not only to bottom-level employees but also the managers and business owners whenever they get the chance (1). There is the notion that “the customer is always right,” which is a tactic meant to instill respect in employees, but that currently tends to lead to customer entitlement and unkind behavior (1). Things like common courtesy, please, thank you, and other appropriate manners like “hi, how are you?” are thrown completely out the window when it’s time to order a large non-fat dairy-free latte with pumpkin spice syrup.
Seeing these unwanted results, a Roanoke, Virginia businessman decided to make a change (1). He set manners higher on the priority list for his business by developing a strategy that was based on how customers would address his cashiers and servers (1). He displayed a sign in front of his business that explained the price of coffee as $5 (1). However, as the sign carefully explained, proper manners could actually bring that steep price down! If a customer were to rudely order just a “small coffee” then they would pay $5; if they were to order a “small coffee, please,” then the price would reduce to $3 (1).
The owner’s new pricing sign was meant to encourage niceness and good manners. A simple “please” would save someone $2, and if they were to say, “Hello. One small coffee, please,” then the price would drop to an attractive $1.75, saving a whopping $3.25. The manager’s intentions were not to aggravate customers, but rather to make simple politeness more desirable by offering substantial discounts for those who were able to use the best manners (1).
And the results of the experiment? Wildly successful. The vast majority of customers who came in and ordered used their manners properly, receiving the discounted coffee and giving all the baristas an easy time on their job (1).
The owner never intended for his experiment to go viral, but nevertheless, the sign he placed in front of his business took to social media at once and soon became a raging success (1). Not only were the customers coming into his shop impacted, but the idea of showing more courtesy to baristas and other customer service workers became the topic of much conversation and social discussion (1).
When the owner of the store was asked about his courtesy strategy, he admitted that he had decided to make an attempt at resolving world injustice by starting with small things, like reducing rudeness by encouraging people to be courteous. Hopefully, we can look forward to this shop owner attempting more heroic tasks in the future!
Image source: Apost
Written by Abbey Elder-Ryan