Good Customer Service 6

Recently, I’ve had good customer service in a few places.  I used to experience good service so regularly that it wasn’t remarkable.  In recent years, good customer service has taken a nose dive to the point that people just doing their jobs feels worth noting.  Here I go.

Transit Ambassadors

You can’t miss their red shirts with “Questions? Ask Me!” or their warmth and energy. Everywhere I have run into them, they have greeted me and been proactive in our encounters.  Such enthusiastic customer interaction was in short supply at the various T-stops I travel regularly before their arrival.  I’ve had to hunt and often go to a kiosk or office to find help.  (“Three #21 buses should have come through by now, what’s up?”)  Especially at Forest Hills and Dudley Stations, I and other patrons regularly have to make T personnel aware of something they should notice and would if they came out of their booths.) Ditto for the service at Ruggles Station. There are often a few people in the kiosk on the street level where the buses come through, but they are not paying attention to what’s happening in the station and more times than I care to remember, have been indifferent to inquiries.

My only complaint about the ambassadors is that they are not stationed at every T station.  The Field’s Corner Branch and Ashmont Station could use their professionalism. Transit Ambassadors started working in August 2017 and are not union members, unfortunately, rather, they work for a Kentucky-based company called Block by Block.

Let me acknowledge that the only thing more difficult than being a T rider has to be being a T worker.

Roche Brothers – Downtown (Hate the prices, love the service)

I have found myself purchasing items from Roche Brothers in downtown Boston at least 4-6 times a month because it is convenient to pop through for some ingredient I’m out of, on my way home.  I find their prices ridiculously expensive but I am impressed by/enamored with their customer service and their cashiers.  Everyone is unfailingly polite and helpful.  They have hired a ton of cashiers, many of whom are young people of color.

One of the first times I shopped there, I had maybe five items and I saw the line that had at least twenty-five people in it. I almost left but then, I noticed, it was moving – quickly and efficiently – so different from my experiences at Stop and Shop.  It moved quickly, so quickly that, except for a line during the Christmas holiday season that was at least 60 people deep, I don’t let the lines discourage me because they are efficient and people get through.  The cashiers and other store personnel have clearly had some serious customer service training and must have been hired because they had the right personality for the job.

Specifically they:

  • Offer assistance but don’t hover
  • Walk me to the aisle or item I’ve asked about
  • If they don’t know, they go ask someone who does
  • If they don’t have they apologize
  • If they are waiting on someone else – they let you know they’ll be with you shortly

The store is also orderly and clean

UPS Store #5414– (Efficiency with Flair and Fun)

Every time I’ve gone to this UPS store on Huntington Ave. to ship a package, I have been given superb service no matter how crowded the store or how cranky or clueless the customer ahead of me. This has been true even during the shopping frenzy of the winter holidays.   The two young Black men who run it are personable, knowledgeable and efficient.  And they’re funny, with just the right amount of banter that keeps the encounter upbeat and efficient.

FedEx Store Downtown (Tremont Street)

The people who have helped me there have been unfailing pleasant, and patient.  One of the young women is so quick and professional it is like watching a ballet as she scans, ships and explains/points out to one curmudgeon (not me this time) and another airhead (also not me this time) that she had in fact done what they’d wanted, that their receipt did in fact have the tracking number and date shipped, etc.   It must have been the gazzilionth time she’d explained but she was graceful efficiency as she did so.

(I enjoy going here despite the panhandlers that are often assembled outside because of the Store 24 right next to it.  They l also offer their own customer service – opening the door for you and asking if you’ll have a little something for them when you come out.)

Clerks at Church Park Post Office on Mass Ave in the Fenway.  All of the clerks are fun, personable, and efficient – save the younger woman who looks like it would hurt her to not frown or look annoyed or make eye contact. what she lacks in personality she makes up for in efficiency.

The Hostess at Ashmont Grill – Although this is her second job (she teaches at a daycare), she is unfailingly warm, outgoing and helpful.

Thank you everyone for doing your job and sowing seeds of kindness, courtesy, humor and efficiency.  I appreciate you.


About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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6 thoughts on “Good Customer Service

  • Carol Lumm

    Thank YOU for giving a shout-out to these (probably) unsung heroes. Hope their employers see this. I too appreciate excellent customer service and it will have me going out of my way to go back.

  • JoAnne Thompson

    Cudoes to you for giving a shout out to the aformentioned employees and business establishments. I’ve refrained from using services where I am not appreciated on a “good or bad” day! We need more folks to holla-holla about the goodness of folks who make our day. Thank you, Cande!

    • Candelaria Silva Post author

      I believe customer service is set by owners and managers and their expectation of and training for how their employees should comport themselves and how they want their customers treated. I remember reading an article in which a business owner said he hired people for their personalities and work ethic because he knew he could train them on the job particulars. Thank you for reading my post and leaving a comment.

  • Linda Markarian

    It is so thoughtful of you to share some good news about people doing their jobs well. I really enjoyed the post and completely agree with you about the T Ambassadors, who are friendly and helpful. Since you are in the downtown area, you might have noticed the Downtown Crossing Ambassadors, too, who help tourists and generally have a great attitude.