There are very few times in my life when I have complained about customer service to the establishment.  I think part of the reason, is that even though I can be very in-your-face assertive, my innate nature is that of the shy, geeky introvert who shies away from confrontation–especially in public settings with people I don’t know. For example, when I encounter poor service at restaurants or bad food, my “retaliation” is only a 12% tip (unless it is really bad in which case I might do something else). I know I could do a lot more and that complaining can garner lots of good things (discounts, free food, re-dos), but it just isn’t my style.

What is my style though?  Leaving compliments.

When I was younger I had several different retail jobs and worked as a bank teller for a number of years.  Both jobs meant interfacing with customers directly for my entire 8 hour shift.  And since customer service was a big part of my responsibility, any bonuses and rewards were tied to compliments left by customers on a job well done.

Now that the tables are turned and I am more frequently the customer, one of my favorite things to do is calling after the fact and leaving compliments with the manager (I tend to call afterward because I think it gives more credibility as in person I tend to look more like a college student than a “prized” customer).  Every time I do this I get such a warm fuzzy feeling and it makes me feel like I did something nice (and that is such an awesome feeling compared to complaining to manager, which the few times I have done it, always makes me feel awkward and uncomfortable).

Tonight I went to Safeway (a grocery store by our home) and had such awesome customer service from this little lady who went way out of her way to make up all these deli items for me almost 2 hours after the deli closed–and she did it in a way that didn’t make me feel like I inconvenienced her at all (in the past the employees have complained or wouldn’t help me).  I called and talked to the supervisor on my way home from the store–and I really hope that they do something nice for her in return like a bonus, or even just a gold star!

If you haven’t ever done this I encourage you to try it the next time you get great customer service.  Leaving compliments can make a real difference for people serving you, and I bet you will come away with a really great feeling afterward.  I know that I am going to try to do it a lot more in 2010.

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