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  • Writer's picturePam Johnson

The difference you make in a life

Are you working in customer service? Perhaps you work at a front desk of a hotel or as a waitress. Every day you interact with strangers who expect you to "serve" them. Sometimes they greet you with a smile and sometimes they barely acknowledge you. Customer service is often a tough, thankless job.

During my working life I have worked as a nurse's aide in a nursing home, a front desk person at a local YMCA, a waitress, bartender, and cashier at a convenience store. I have experienced the highs and lows of customer service.

Have you ever thought about how you can make a huge difference in your customer's lives? Your job is often seen as low-level or not very important. You don't run the company, you don't make big money, how can you possible make a huge difference?

I have experienced some dramatic things as a customer service person when I believed I could truly affect the lives of those I "served". I heard a patient's voice for the first time when I sang "You are my Sunshine" as I woke him for breakfast one day. He told me in a quiet voice that it was his wife's favorite song. I teared up a bit and told him I would sing it for him whenever he wanted. I smiled and greeted a mom and took time to hug her toddler when they came to the Y. She trusted me enough to share that she had suffered a miscarriage and accepted a hug. A customer of the convenience store told me about how much he had to drink the night before and how he had overslept. I asked if he was okay with that. I don't remember what his answer was, but he let me know a few days later that he decided to stop drinking for a while.

By being open, compassionate, friendly and happy, I made a difference in some lives. My smiles were returned, my friendliness was reciprocated. I felt better about working that "low-level" job. I was doing something important. I mattered.

What you do as a customer service person matters. You are important. You affect lives.

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