From the book The Simple Truths of Service, please enjoy a story by Mac Anderson called “Inspired by Johnny the Bagger®”:
Barbara Glanz is a friend of mine who is a speaker and author. A few years ago, she spoke at a convention for a large grocery chain with over 3,000 people attending. Her talk was on creating memories for the customers so they would want to come back. At the end of her speech, she gave out her email address and phone number, and said, “If you have any great service stories, I’d like to hear them.”
Well, about a month later, Barbara gets a call from a young man who introduces himself as Johnny. He said,
“Barbara, I heard what you had to say about service, and I like it! I’m just a bagger in the store and I have Down syndrome, but I wanted to think of a way I could make a difference. I decided that I like sayings, so each day I’m going to pick out one that I like, and my dad and I will print it out on the computer. I’ll cut out the quote in strips and sign my name on the back of each one. The next day when customers come through, I’ll just drop a strip right in their bags and say, ‘I hope you enjoy my quote of the day.’ What do you think, Barbara?”
Barbara said, “Johnny, I think that’s a wonderful idea!”
A few weeks later, Barbara gets another call…this time from the store manager. He says,
“Barbara, you won’t believe what’s happened at our store. I went out into the store and noticed that one line was three times longer than the others. I went to the back of the line and suggested that customers move to another checkout, and they wouldn’t budge—they wanted to see Johnny’s quote of the day! In fact, one lady said, ‘I used to come here once a week, but now I come 2-3 times just to see the smile on Johnny’s face when he drops in his favorite quote.’
So the next day, I round up my team and tell them what Johnny has done to give our customers more than they expected. That afternoon, I see the lady in the floral department cutting off her broken flowers and pinning them on the elderly women in our store. Our guy in the meat department loves Snoopy, so he was putting his favorite Snoopy stickers on the packages, and talking to his customers.
In fact, everybody in our store is finding creative ways to put their mark on service. We’re having the time of our lives, and it seems like everyone in town is talking about us! And you know what, Barbara? It happened for one reason…Johnny decided to do something!”
When it comes to service, we all have our unique gifts to give; however we’ll never make the emotional connection with the customer unless it begins in our heart.