An Introduction to The Service Culture

I want you to picture your favorite cashier.

Maybe it’s that cute boy who works at your local Panera and always greets you by name when it’s your turn to order. Or maybe it’s the older woman who always compliments something about you when you’re checking out at the grocery store. Either way, he or she has that one thing about them that makes your entire shopping/ordering experience worth waiting in line behind a family of five with a crying infant.

That thing is a combination of :

Kidding! …(sort of).

While your favorite service worker may seem to have all the ingredients of a Powerpuff Girl, he or she is actually the perfect formulation of personality, patience, and (probably) caffeine.

Picture your favorite cashier again. They’re probably smiling, seemingly having a great time despite the line of customers that await them. You feel they are genuinely interested in even the smallest things you’re saying, right down to your overly-customized sandwich order.

As you’re walking away from them, you find yourself envying their positivity. You wonder if they’re always like this or if maybe you’re just their favorite customer. You wish you could pick their brain and find their secret to happiness. The map to their private island of patience.

Enter: me.

Your friendly, digital guide to the inner workings of your favorite cashier’s mind.

“But I have never been/ am not/ will never be a cashier!”

Well, that’s awesome for you! (0% sarcasm intended — I actually envy you). But you still have to socialize with people, don’t you? Isn’t there some collective of administrators/coworkers/customers to deal with on the daily? Some group of people you find yourself interacting with that you have to serve/please to some extent?

That’s right you do.

And that’s why I’m here to teach you a little bit about the customer service industry and how we make you feel like you’re our favorite customer in the entire world. Even though you just fought with us over that sale on avocados. For seven minutes.

But before I get into all of that, here’s a little bit about your tour guide:

I’m Ashley. And though I’ve been small-talking with people for about 22 years now, I only started getting paid for it around six years ago — and I love it. Most of the time. My role in the service culture is three-fold:

  1. Brand Ambassador.
  2. Customer Service Associate
  3. Social Media Intern.

Between these three positions, I get to experience a myriad of humans. As a brand ambassador, I get to travel around to different locations to serve them; at the customer service desk, I serve them by (hopefully) solving their problems; and as a social media intern, I get to serve people online without even seeing their faces. And have I mentioned I’m in my second semester of grad school?

Let’s just say, all in all, I’ve served a lot of people.

And through my many years of practice, I would like to think I’ve acquired that thing I mentioned earlier. That combination of qualities that allows me to stay outwardly positive during even the longest of shifts on the craziest of days. Don’t get me wrong though- I am still a human with a limit to how much I can take from customers. And if you catch me at the tail end of a Pre-Snow Day rush, I’ll probably look like I just came back from war.

But I wish to share my experiences with you — the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’ll tell you about how I’ve managed not to hop over the counter and attack the woman who thinks I personally caused everything that went wrong with her shopping experience. I’ll tell you about the friendships I’ve made with my coworkers. And I’ll do it all while using a variety of appropriately humorous gifs.

Stay tuned.

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Originally published at theserviceculture.wordpress.com on February 9, 2015.