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A Wow in Garbage!
by Darlene Pineda


Garbage: Not usually a place to find superstars. Now, my trash pickup is usually on Thursdays. In September we had a bit of wind called Isabelle, (My house was still standing, by the way - YAY!), which naturally meant no pickup that day. The days following Isabelle kept everyone busy cleaning up the mess she left behind: Trees and branches and roof pieces and power lines and food that had spoiled and pieces of siding that had flown off houses and landed in yards. When trash day rolled around, I put my filled-to-the-brim trashcan out on the curb for pickup. YAY! I had a few bags that didn't fit, but at least most of it would be gone.

Later that day, the doorbell rang. When I went to the door, there was the garbage man, smiling! "Excuse me, ma'am. I'm sure you noticed that we weren't able to make a pickup last week, and I sure am sorry about that." I nodded, and told him I understood. Then he continued, "I'm checking to see if you have any more trash that didn't fit in the can, that I can carry to the truck for you." I blinked at him, and actually couldn't speak. "You … want my trash?" I stuttered, puzzled. "Yes ma'am, if you have any more, I'd be pleased to carry it out to the truck for you."

So I led him to the garage, and he did indeed carry another three bags full to the truck, smiling the whole time. I thanked him, (and this is where he went beyond exceeding expectations to blowing them away), and he said, "No ma'am, thank you for choosing us. It was a pleasure to serve you, and you have a nice day."

I walked back into my house, stunned. Now, I expect great customer service in department stores and restaurants. I even expect it in gas stations and doctors' offices. But I never even thought about service in terms of garbage collection. And I realized that my garbage man had made a choice, and he CHOSE to make his day a great one. He chose to BE THERE. He certainly MADE MY DAY. And he did it all with sincerity and mindfulness and an honest desire to provide service. And I couldn't help but wonder; if someone in as difficult a job as his could find possibilities to exceed all expectations, how many chances can we find, every day? How often do WE say to our customers, "No, thank YOU for choosing US"?

So, what do your customers say about you?


The Author


Darlene Pineda is a contributing editor of The CEO Refresher, Vice President Operations at High Performance Retail, co-editor of 1001 Ways to WOW Your Customers! customer service specialist and breakthrough trainer! Contact Darlene by e-mail: .

Many more articles in High Performance Retail in The CEO Refresher Archives
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Copyright 2004 by Darlene Pineda. All rights reserved.

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