Tuesday, July 8, 2008

What Chocolate Taught Me About Dressing for Success

Yesterday I was running a bunch of errands with all 3 kids in tow. (Read: crazy mom) The final stop was the Verizon store where I had to trade my son’s once again not working Chocolate phone. I don’t even get angry at Verizon for this lame piece of junk because my son chose this crappy phone knowing that a tin can and string works better than this thing. But it looks “cool.” Verizon doesn’t give us a hard time when we have to trade for the third time (under warranty) because they also know that it is junk.

So what makes this a story worth telling is the customer service guy (let’s call him William) who performed the routine swap of transferring data to the new phone. The first thing anyone would notice about him were his clothes. This was business casual taken right from a men’s fashion magazine. He wore neat navy trousers, a striped shirt, some sort of print tie and a sweater tied around his shoulders. Really I haven’t seen that since the 80’s. It seemed a little silly and might draw people to make conclusions about his sexuality. But once he started talking all was forgiven because he’s German and you know those Europeans always have different dress standards. Not to mention that I don’t really care one bit about whom he is spending his time with outside of our brief encounter.

But William’s neat attire also spilled over into how he approached his job. Typically Verizon personnel offer very good service. They have to because everything else about cell phone companies is ridiculously aggravating. But William went beyond nice. He was more than courteous. He was gracious and polite. As my 4-yr-old was completely out of control and had to be removed from the premises I felt like a sloven peasant, but William showed me the respect of royalty.

When the transaction was over I politely thanked him. Then he came out from behind the counter pointed to the bottom of the receipt to “a very brief survey of about 15 seconds regarding my service today. I hope that you will give me a 9 or 10 because everything below is just no good.”

The career/life advice that William shows us is simple:

Treat everyone with respect. You never really know what impact one person may have on your life. Plus, if you treat others respectfully they will respect you.

How you dress reflects how you feel about yourself and others. This too goes along with respect. Colorado is notorious for casual dress, but that doesn’t mean you should let it all go and forget good grooming.

Ask for what you want. William’s politeness and good service didn’t come without a price. He wanted me to pay for that by taking the time to do a survey that would look good for his career—and he even told me what rating to give him.

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