Service with a Smile

via google images

Yesterday as I was doing some christmas shopping (it never really ends, does it?), I was approached by this salesperson who asked if I needed any help in finding something.   I said I was okay and that I could manage. 

He lingered a bit,  saw my shopping list and  when he saw how long it was, jokingly asked  if I was sure I didn’t need any help.  He offered some suggestions which were truly helpful.  And then he was called by another customer — who looked like she really needed someone’s help.  But before he turned his back, he told me that he’ll just be there in the area, in case I needed some assistance.

I really appreciate salespeople who extend quality service.  By quality service, I mean, it’s not just about getting me the product/s that I need.  It’s about the way they attend to me as a customer.  I don’t like salespeople who move like programmed robots… the ones who just memorize a spiel but are blankfaced when you inquire about something they are not prepared for.  Nor do I like the ones who are too pushy and who oversell.  But I think the ones I dislike the most are the ones who can’t even smile… the ones who make you feel like you are being a burden when you ask for assistance.

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My love for shopping makes me a perennial customer, but I do know how it feels to be on the other side… the side that provides the ‘service.’

Having worked for the front office as well as the customer service department of a big company in my past life, I have faced a lot of different personalities.  Not all of them were nice, believe me. Some people can be really rude or overbearing.  There are those who have the tendency to look down on other people, well, just because.  And when you are a sales person, a front office staff or a customer service personnel, or have whatever frontline job, you are prone to coming across different characters.

how will you fare?


In my years of doing frontline work, here are some things that I learned about customer service that hopefully can be valuable to the readers who are also in the same line of job.

1)  Smile  And I mean ALL the time.  Yes, smile though your heart is breaking.  Smile even if you’ve been standing the whole day and your feet are killing you.  Your customers don’t know that.  If you are the type who loves to channel Oscar the Grouch, then by all means, choose another department… far from the front office, far from the customers. 

2)  Be courteous, polite and friendly

3)  Be professional.  When I said friendly, I didn’t mean you should overdo it.  Customers are still customers.  No matter how long you have known them, or how often they go to your store or your company,  keep in mind that you have to treat your customers with respect. Don’t be all chummy-chummy, and avoid making jokes specially at the expense of the customer!  It’s okay to kid around once in a while with customers you are already comfortable with, but still know your place.  Don’t be OVERfriendly.  It could cost you your job.

4)  Let the customer or client talk.  Find out what he/she needs.  Don’t assume.  You are not a mind reader. 

Be different

5)  Be knowledgeable.  Know your company. Know your products. Know current events if needed. As a customer myself, I really hate it when I am asking for something and the sales person answers me with either a flat out ‘No’ or ‘I don’t know,’  without even exerting any effort to either look for the product or offer me alternatives.

6)  Go the extra mile.  In line with #5, going the extra mile or giving a service that is more than what is expected of you makes you different from all the rest.  Chances are your customers will remember you.  AND they will come back.  Happy customers normally come back.

7)  Patience is a virtue.  Don’t rush the customer.  Don’t act like you can’t wait to get rid of him or her.    Some customers take longer time to think or decide on certain things.  There are fickle buyers.  Offer suggestions as you see fit and leave them first if they need more time to think. But like the guy in my example above, let them know that you are just there to assist when they’re ready.  Surely they will appreciate the space rather than having you breathing over their shoulders.

8)  Remember, it is NOT personal. Frontliners face different people with different moods and temperament day in and day out.  Any given day, you may come face to face with not just one but maybe even two or more irate customers.  Customers who, themselves, are having a bad day and somehow end up displacing their anger.  Unfortunately, you end up being at the receiving end.  So, what do you do? Do you cry?  Do you shout back?  Do you walk out?

Best thing to do is just keep quiet.  Let the customer blow off his steam.  It will pass, eventually.  And if you really are not at fault, somehow the customer will realize that.  Most often than not, they even become apologetic in the end.  Just remember, it’s not about you.  Don’t take it personally.

and lastly…

9)  SMILE.  I just have to say it again.  It all starts — and ends — with a smile.  Works wonders on a stressful day.  Makes you look much, much younger, too. 


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photo via and google images   

As promised…

It has been a semi-frustrating blog week…

Semi-frustrating because  1) my internet connection has been acting up since saturday evening (see Limited Connectivity entry), and 2) my chance and definitely unintentional brush with icky porn the other day (see Blogging etiquette post). 

Sometimes the universe just throws things at you that you are not prepared for.  Good that I had topics to write about, but it can be pretty exhausting to be angry — or frustrated. 

Today I am keeping my cool.  For along with the frustrating times come moments, too, that warm our hearts. 

Here is something that is light and easy…


This morning as I dropped off my son in school, I lingered a little longer and from the back seat of my car I watched as he walked to the school gate, then enter the school premises, and eventually disappeared going up the stairs to his classroom.  Somehow I couldn’t dismiss that tug in my chest as I watched him walk away.                                           

I remember the first time my son entered big school.  He was only 5 then. He wasn’t the clingy “Mom, please don’t leave me!!!” nor the whiny “I don’t want to go to school!!!” type.  Nor was he the one who cries silent tears — tears that will surely melt a mom’s heart and make her want to whisk her child away (like school was a bad place or something!).  No, my son held his own… He made me bring him to his classroom, he let me leave guiltlessly when it was time to leave, yet made me promise to be there at dismissal time.  And I was there as promised.

He is in 5th grade now.   I still drop him off  in the morning… but by now I am just allowed to either stay in the car or bring him to the gate (“Mom, that is so not cool!!”).  Watching him this morning, I can’t help but ask myself until when do I intend to do this?  I mean, at some point I will have to learn to let go, right?

Letting go is not easy.  Sometimes we wish we can forever hold our children in our hands so they are always protected.  But we also know that by letting them go, we let them learn… we let them experience life… and we let them grow.  Because if we hold on too tight, we will stifle their growth.  There are things that they simply have to learn on their own.

But we know that whatever happens, we will be there to catch them should they fall. Perhaps what is important is that they have the knowledge and the security that whatever happens, when they need us, we will be there to pick them up…

Every dismissal.  As promised.   

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photo via

Oh happy day…

So many reasons to be happy


First day of a new month.  My site reached 800 hits.  I was able to chat with two of my best friendsI look amazingly pretty today.  I saw George Clooney on tv this morning.  I still fit in my old jeans21 days ’til Glee. I am in the mood to write.  I finished something I had to finish on time.  I made someone happyNever ending supply of coffee.    Saw my favorite boy Marco yesterday and the thought still makes me smile.  Listening to not-so-old songs that bring back loads of memories. Thoughts of Christmas.  Thoughts of Christmas shopping

The knowledge that yesterday may have been bad, but it’s over and done with. And now I have today.

Today I smile.


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photo credit:

Blogging Blues

It can get frustrating sometimes. 

I blog about my thoughts, my experiences, my feelings about matters, how i view the world… Sometimes i go on and on and i feel good about myself after finishing a piece.  I feel good about having to express myself.  I think about the readers whose lives I will touch or whose feelings I will move with my insights.  I think about the ones I will entertain with my sometimes shallow humor.  I think about the people who will smile after reading about an escapade.  And I feel happy… satisfied… proud, even.

Then after half a day has passed, I will check my stats… only to find out that there’s just one reader –who probably just happened to find my site by chance and decided to stay on it and read…

I will try to check again come night time… and then I will see that the lone reader is still very much alone.

The following day before I post another blog, I will check my stats once more to see if there was any movement while I was sleeping… hoping that I have loyal followers from another time zone.  Sometimes i get two or three more. On good days, I will probably have 5.

Yes, it can get frustrating somewhat.

Sometimes I wonder if I am really a good writer… because if I were interesting enough, then maybe I will have more followers.  Right now I think the only people who constantly follow my blogs are my cousin/person, my close friend (when not busy and when reminded)… and oh yeah, Me. 

So, so sad.

But then when I think about it, I remember the reason why I started all these…

I started blogging for self-expression.  I started blogging because I loved writing and I express myself better with written words.  Make me speak in front of people and I will probably spend thirty minutes vomiting before every speech.  If you want to know my thoughts, make me sit down and write.  It’s much easier for me that way. Besides, there’s always delete.  I can edit out the words that don’t fit.

I blog because I get to think about things whenever I write about them.  I get to ask myself questions, and most of the time I find the answers, as well.  Of course I would love to be able to share my ideas and thoughts and misadventures with someone.  I would love to inspire people.  Putting a smile on a reader’s face is a nice outcome.  But then given that I don’t have much followers yet, well, I blog more for myself. 

Sometimes my topic don’t make much sense.  Well, a lot of the things in this world don’t make much sense.  But they make life more interesting in a way. 

I blog because writing is a passion.  I am a writer… and writers write. 

I do believe that if I keep blogging, they — my readers– will come.  And so I keep the faith.

Le Penne


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photo credit:

Sentimental reasons

I have had this small, orange face mirror I think since I was in high school.  It’s one of those estee lauder freebies that comes in a bag or pouch with other toiletries or sample make up.  I really love it since it’s flat and handy… can fit in whatever bag i bring.  Back in high school, i used to put it inside the pocket of my blouse (on my chest… for easy access).

My mirror and I have gone a long way.  My best friends from high school call it my prized possession.    It has seen my transformation from ugly duckling to swan.  I have shared with it all the possible facial expressions i can have.  It has seen every smile, every frown, every blemish, wrinkle, sparkle in the eyes… etc etc etc.  One can only wonder how a small inanimate object can be so much a part of one’s life…

At times, it is much, much easier to hold on to objects than people.  I can’t help but think of the friendships that I didn’t try to save — maybe because of the distance… or the time and effort needed… or simply because I didn’t care enough to salvage the relationship. 

I had an interesting chat with an old friend the other day.  We haven’t spoken to each other for quite some time. Ours is — or was — an on again-off again friendship that goes way back.  We have known each other for years, in a sense grew up knowing each other.  We had shared secrets and jokes.  We took time for each other.  But then something happened along the way, that for some time i chose to just ignore the person fully, and this old friend decided to do the same to me.  Until the other day.

Recently, something happened in OF’s (old friend) life that made OF think of me.  While OF was going through the whole thing, the only person OF can think of sharing everything — the story, the emotions, the thoughts– with was me.  But i wasn’t there.  I wasn’t around because we have been ignoring each other for the longest time.  We were both busy doing our “i don’t need you if you don’t need me” routine.

Maybe that was the time OF realized that our friendship had value… and swallowed all pride to admit so.

I was pretty stunned at first.  My first impulse was to be smug about it.  For a split second I wanted to berate OF for being stuck up and detached.  But then i realized that OF was reaching out… trying to salvage the friendship.  So, what’s the point in saying “I’m the better friend” or “It was all your fault.”  OF was extending a hand and the best I can do was take it.  No apologies, no pointing of fingers… just the peaceful feeling that comes with the knowledge that all is well. 

We chatted for several minutes more… shared a joke that we used to tell each other some 20 years back — and we laughed at it as hard as we used to.  I believe it was a nice afternoon for both of us.  I spent the rest of the day with a smile in my heart.

If i could hold on to a mirror for years and years, how can I not hold on to people, as well? 

Yes, we win some, we lose some.  But I have realized that if something is truly of value, it will find its way back to you in time… 


walking on sunshine

Been smiling a lot lately. 

Sometimes i walk in the mall and i hear the song “Walking on sunshine” playing over and over inside me head.  Makes me want to skip… which would make me look pretty silly, so i just continue smiling from ear to ear instead.

I guess this is how it is when you’re at peace with the world.  When you don’t depend on other people to make you happy… when you appreciate the things around you… when you don’t expect too much from others.  Somehow, every small thing that you receive — whether attention or affection, is enough to put a smile on your face.  Maybe it’s the joy that emanates from within, not the happiness that you derive from other people, that really matters after all.

Sometimes i get scared, too.  The silly, negative side of me keeps whispering that one cannot stay happy for too long.  That soon, my bubble will burst, and my la la land existence will dissipate.  Talk about being negative.

But no, i will stay the course.  I shall shun all the negative stuff, all the things that keep pulling me down.  It is not wrong — nor bad– to be happy… to have joy.  So i shall savor this feeling.

I’m walking on sunshine… and it feels so darned good.