The Meaning of Customer Service: pay it forward

The day did not start out as anything spectacular. Nothing wrong but not exciting either. That is, it wasn’t great until I altered the course of my day while grocery shopping.

Make a difference = Pay it forward!

I was bagging groceries at the local Winco Foods, when my superior spider senses (hey I can dream of being a superhero) began to twitch. The man behind me was fidgeting and looking around nervously as if something was wrong. His daughter walked up and as they started to talk I noticed myself eavesdropping. They were questioning whether or not they had enough money to pay for the groceries they had and were trying to decide what items to take off the bill.

As the man and his daughter were about to remove some items I interjected, “Are you a little bit short for your bill?” the daughter replied yes and before she could say anything else I offered to pay the difference. After slight protesting, they agreed. I handed the checker a debit card and finished the transaction. After it was done, they asked for my name and number so they could reimburse me. I told them my name, where I work, but refused to accept repayment. I shook hands with both of them and glided happily to the car with a full cart of groceries. It really was my pleasure to be able to help someone and ask for nothing in return.

Customer service = do what’s right!

This incident is a customer service moment because the experience should be about doing what is right; its not simply about the sale. When assisting customers what is your motivation, and how do you perceive them? Are they just another commission to you or do you really want to enhance their lives somehow? Share your thoughts and your stories about paying it forward.

8 thoughts on “The Meaning of Customer Service: pay it forward

  1. kelleyzwong says:

    That was was such a sweet gesture! Customer service SHOULD be about helping out customers in the best possible way and helping them find solutions for whatever problems that brought them to your store, but it’s often only about the sale. It’s nice to hear that nice things like this happen and I’m sure those people will remember it for a long time!


    1. miriamgomberg says:

      Kelley, welcome! It would have been just as easy to keep my head down and ignore the situation. Part of living customer service is being aware of your surroundings and how your one action can positively affect someone. Thanks for commenting. Miriam


  2. Sumiko Maser says:

    Miriam- this is a great story- thank you so much for sharing! I think that in our personal lives and professional lives it’s important to not forget that those around us are actual human beings and giving a helping hand and providing our service whether it’s through our talents or some advantages we have is one of the best things we can do. Doing the right thing will always get customers coming back.


    1. miriamgomberg says:

      Sumiko, you should have seen the looks on their faces when I told them that I expected nothing from them in return. Customer service lives in the heart as well as in the wallet. thanks so much for your comment. Miriam


  3. Sharyn says:

    Well done — what a kind thing to do. This is something to brag about, both because it makes you feel good and because it inspires readers to do something similar.

    Once I was in a thrift shop buying clothes for Halloween costumes and the lady behind me spoke about passing on a $2.75 blouse that she really liked because she didn’t have the money to spend on it. I bought it for her, all the time thinking what a shame it was that someone couldn’t afford a shirt that cost less than three dollars.


    1. miriamgomberg says:

      Sharyn, thanks for taking the time to comment! What you did at that thriftstore was awesome, as I’m sure you made a difference for the woman. If we all did one selfless thing a week, think how much better off we all would be. Thanks again, Miriam


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