Zen and the Art of Customer Service, Part II

Like a lot of people, this time of year can really affect me if I’m not careful. The dreary weather, the too-few hours of daylight.. On more than one occasion I’ve considered swapping hemispheres to cheer up through the winter months!

grumpy_calvinA few days ago, I found myself in a funk. The weather and some personal things had all ganged up on me, leaving me in an incredibly grumpy mood. Fortunately, I’d had a massage therapy session booked for that day so I was at least appreciative of that. Grumbling my way through the cold, grey day, I walked in to my therapist’s office and was immediately greeted by their receptionist. For a moment I was the only person in the waiting area, so we chatted for a few moments until it was time for my appointment. I didn’t think too much of it, and a few minutes later my therapist came to bring me in to the room. A few minutes and some elbows through my ribcage into my session, I was having another chat with my massage therapist / psychiatrist.

“You sure have an impact on people,” she said while pushing an apparent tank through my upper shoulders. When I asked what she meant, she continued “As soon as I told our receptionist you were coming in, she lit right up. She said ‘Oh, that Jason’s so nice. I like when he comes in – he’s the only customer we have that ever asks me how my day is going.’”

I thought to myself – Wait, that can’t be right, can it? I’m sure it was an exaggeration, but I really appreciated the sentiment – for all of three seconds. I immediately felt guilty and wondered if I had actually asked how her day was when I went in this time. Had my foul mood displaced my manners? A fingertip or perhaps a sword hammered through a weary muscle, and my therapist set my mind at ease by continuing, “Even today – look at you. You claim you’re in a bad mood but I walked out there and you two were having a happy conversation. Most people check in and then immediately bury their nose in their phone, forgetting there’s a person even in the room with them.” 

Now, I didn’t take this as a “wow, I am so great, I am literally a ball of flippin’ sunshine radiating unto others” ego boost. Instead, it reminded me that while we are all allowed our bad moods and quiet days, kindness costs nothing. We never know what anyone else we meet is going through, and perhaps that one moment of kindness can really help brighten their day or lessen their burdens. For me, I realized that even after my moment’s chat at the front desk, as I walked into my therapy room I felt lighter. The receptionist’s kindness of sharing a moment of her day and chatting with me, instead of doing the bare minimum of checking me in and going back to her computer screen had been wonderful for me.

While we are all allowed our bad moods and quiet days, kindness costs nothing

My therapy session ended and I really wanted to ensure I asked the receptionist how her day was, but of course there was someone else working at the desk when I walked out. It didn’t matter – I smiled, asked this new stranger how her day was, and laughed a bit to myself when she seemed surprised I wasn’t simply saying “visa, thank you”.

A moment of kindness. It can mean the world.

– Jason

One thought on “Zen and the Art of Customer Service, Part II

  1. Thank you for the timely reminder. At this time of year, everyone is in such a rush and harried that a kind smile or a warm greeting can lift even the dampest of spirits. I found myself being on the receiving end of someone going out of their way to smile at me and it did a lot to elevate my mood. Keep blogging! I miss them!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *