Nothing frustrates me more than seeing people waste opportunities.
Take this morning, for example. I head into the radio station around 3:30 every weekday morning for my show and sometimes stop off at a gas station to fill up ($2.95 a gallon here in Sacramento!) and pick up the morning paper. While my car was filling up, I walked to the door of the convenience store and saw this sign:
CLOSED FOR CLEANING...SORRY FOR THE INCONVENIENCE
Not wanting to let a little thing like overnight store maintenance stop me from buying a cup of coffee and a day-old Krispy Kreme, I knocked politely on the door and motioned the attendant to come over. She took her time.
Finally, she walked up, pointed at the sign and started to walk away. I pounded on the door this time and said, "Listen, I'm sorry I bothered you, but could I just get in, get some coffee, and get out? I promise my feet are clean!" She pointed back at the sign, said, "We're closed! What're you, blind?!? Come back later!!!"
Obviously not a Dale Carnegie grad. I realize that I was asking her to drop everything to ring up a $2.70 sale...but it would only have cost her two minutes of her time. Her attitude actually cost her company hundreds of dollars because I'll never shop there again.
If you're in a service or sales industry, then you should always be as courteous and helpful as possible--even to the rudest of customers. If you're the decision-maker in a service or sales industry, empower your employees to make politeness their top priority.
When you sound like your customer really is number one...now you're talkin'!