Tip of the morning to you…

So, I suppose I should get right to the point… I recently had a customer who paid for his purchase in cash and looked for a place to discard his $0.18 cents in change. He asked if we had a “Tip Jar”, the look of sheer shock much have crossed over my face (much like a sandrails tread on a Pismo Dune) as I simply said, “we don’t have a tip jar here, we’re not that kind of business”. The nice gentleman said “oh I thought all retails independent  shops had those – you provide a service so you should have a tip jar”.   I smiled and sort of chuckled because as much as he was being sincere and thoughtful, insinuating to my customers to contribute to a jar of money for a service that I feel is already a free genuine compliment of daily business-as-usual was so absurd. In fact, I cannot even fathom such a thing.

Great customer service is priceless!

Great customer service is priceless!

It seems everywhere you go you see tip jars. You see them in retail chains, independent mom and pop cafe’s and every once and again you’ll see a sign on a tip jar that reads “Tipping is Good Karma”.  Ummm OK … WHAT???   So now I am being guilted into contributing into the vessel of paper and metal currency for customer service which may or may-not be very good.  I want to think that the person behind the counter isn’t going to take  note and mess up my order or something worse… I really have a hard time buying into that program.

I am the biggest fan and evangelist of customer service, I feel that is what brings people back to visit us in the gallery or to purchase art or retail products from us is the fact that we have quality friendly and no hassle awesome customer service… in fact I believe the general public thrives on it, they love it and either consciously or unconsciously experienced a positive experience and it makes them feel great.

So, is it my imagination or is customer service becoming the lost art of retail business? It seems only natural to me to greet people when they enter the gallery and to let them know that we are here to assist without making them feel hunted or followed throughout the gallery. Making sure that people feel like they’re appreciated. A kind thank you accompanied by a smile is one of the best things you can experience in a daily routine. It’s free and meaningful.

Now if you ask me – this is the best tip and in my opinion, that’s good karma!


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4 Responses to “Tip of the morning to you…”

  1. Kathy Sturr August 28, 2011 at 6:54 pm #

    I’m with you 100%, Sonya! I think old-fashioned customer service is becoming a lost art in retail, and what really surprises me, is when I enter a privately-owned store, such as yours, many times the owner won’t even greet me! Regardless of that, I always make a point of saying “thank you” when I leave the store, because I appreciate that they’re providing their services and goods for me, the consumer. I entered a shop in the mall at Japantown SF a week ago, and the owner was engaged in a heated conversation with what was obviously another shop owner. He was ranting and bashing yet another shop owner. I walked in, around, and left, and he never even acknowledged that I was in the store! I even attempted to make eye contact with him. Do you think I wanted to buy anything he had? No matter what he had that I might have wanted, I wouldn’t have purchased based on principle. I would try and find it on-line. GASP! : ) I strive to provide excellent service to my clients, though I’m not in retail. I’d like to think if I had a store front, I would run mine just as you do yours. Sorry for the rant! : )

  2. Betty Kaufman August 28, 2011 at 6:59 pm #

    Sonya, I agree with you. I love good customer service. When I get it, I warmly thank the person and tell them how much I appreciate it. If it is a tip-friendly environment (e.g., a restaurant), I show my appreciation in my tip. At a coffee shop, when I get good customer service, I usually throw my change into the jar, because I know how little the workers make and how hard they work. But the increasing use of tip jars, and the expectations that we’ll throw our change in, even for mediocre service, doesn’t make a lot of sense. Thanks for writing your article.

  3. Liz Ainsworth August 29, 2011 at 8:56 am #

    I totally agree after all isn’t good customer service really only old fashioned “Good Manners?” The law of reciprocity works tho’ and a smile costs nothing and nor does a polite, friendly word but it will give the recipient a good feeling.

  4. Lynn August 31, 2011 at 12:52 am #

    I agree with you—customer service is priceless.. which is way more than 18 cents!!!!