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Customer Service Kudos

Costco optical department specialist earns ‘emotional intelligence’ kudo

As anyone who hangs with me knows, I love Costco. For two-plus decades, they have personified emotionally intelligent customer service across the board. That’s due to a caliber of the people they hire, and how they train them.

During a recent visit to the Parker, CO store to get my new glasses adjusted, I was fortunate enough to encounter a longtime optical department specialist named Shazzy. He expeditiously took care of the adjustment, then went extra miles when I explained that I was having a vision challenge.

I had to look down a bit while driving to get clarity. I figured this was just an issue of getting accustomed to the new glasses. When I expressed my concern, he immediately took measurements of the lens and determined that, for my high level of correction and other factors, the lens was insufficient and needed to be redone.

Given that I had purchased the glasses at another Costco, there would be no charge to redo the lenses. He immediately did the paperwork, and I’m off to the races.

What made this noteworthy is that he insisted on making sure everything was right, instead of just adjusting the glasses and sending me on my way. I’m convinced that most people in that industry would have done the bare minimum to get me out of their hair. I also believe that another specialist wouldn’t have looked beyond my statement about getting accustomed to the new glasses.

Further, they weren’t that far off. But Shazzy insisted that leaving them this way could cause problems down the road—literally and figuratively. Besides a potential clear vision issue, he said it wouldn’t be good for my neck to look down as I’d been doing.

There was a time when this type of service was much more mainstream and expected. But now, I’m totally jaded. Because of epidemic levels of uncaring, distracted, and incompetent service in every industry I’ve encountered the past couple years, I’ve come to expect shoddy service. When I find someone like Shazzy, I feel compelled to shout it out far and wide.

His emotionally intelligent demeanor stands squarely opposed the emotionally ignorance that prevails in so many places. To recover from the dysfunctional malaise currently constituting the lion’s share of customer service, we will need a lot of Shazzys to set an example for others and to help establish training standards that ensure that emotional intelligence becomes the norm, not the exception.

Costco’s corporate culture merits propagation throughout corporate America, to help cement the philosophy that treating people well leads to a better bottom line. As I used to say, “Look at all the money I saved by spending all this money at Costco.” It’s because I like, trust, and respect them—and know that people like Shazzy will be there when needed.

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A key tenet of successful customer service is the level of emotional intelligence or ignorance that prevails. This pervades all facets of customer service, but one where much improvement is needed is the written word. Especially now, amid major stress, anger, and frustration, corporate America could do itself proud by communicating positively and supportively. Instead, it appears often that the level of human angst also permeates the tone of written communications. Companies wanting to up their level of customer service need to look at toning down harsh communications.

Mark Lusky

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