For Outstanding Organizations, The Customer Is Never a Burden

Make me Feel Important

The King Soopers grocery store recruiting manager asked, “So, Jazzy, what does good customer service look like to you?”

With 17 years of life under her belt, Jazzy responded:

“Good customer service is being outgoing, friendly, and approachable; making customers feel like they’re your #1 priority and never a burden.”

“Um, okay, well, so … when can you start?”

When Miller Child #6—Jazzy Joy—shared this exchange with Karen and me, we beamed. “Good for you, Jazz!” we said in stereo.

And at that moment, my mind went back 24 hours …

We decided to go pick up Kentucky Fried Chicken (I do the grilled chicken with coleslaw so those missing 43 pounds are never found again). Flipping my laptop open, I discovered that KFC does not have online ordering.


How retro, I thought. I have to … call???

So I phoned the KFC closest to us. No answer. Huh, that’s odd.

I redialed … 3 times! No answer.

I called another one. Nope. What is going on here?!

Then I dialed the KFC on Washington Ave. in Thornton, Colorado, which is not the closest one to our home. NO ANSWER!!!


I rechecked all of my phone numbers and found that I had dialed the last one incorrectly, so I tried it again.

Sherri answered.

One nanosecond into our conversation, here’s what I knew:

Without ever having met her, daughter Jazzy had described Sherri perfectly.

I was—at that moment—the only person in her world.

Not only did I feel like an old friend, it seemed she had nothing else to do during a Saturday dinner hour but chat with me! We laughed like we were buds—and I ordered $90 of KFC from her.

#BigFamily    #WeLoveChicken    #LeftoversAreGood

I then drove 11 miles one way to pick the food up. When I arrived, Sherri—part owner of this franchise—was racing around handling drive-thru orders, guiding staff, and pleasing customers to no end.

Sherri was—no, is—the real deal. She’s exactly who we write about in Outstanding!:

“Outstanding organizations never forget who pays the bills. Who pays  your bills? Whoever it is, visualize them as wearing a flashing neon sign around their neck with twelve-inch-high letters that read ‘make me feel important!’”

As we all know, there are some human beings who should never interact with the paying customer. Such as …

  • George, the auto mechanic, who caused me to feel like the dumbest person on Earth every time I brought my car to his shop.
  • The owner of the clothing alterations business who always has a face that would light up a room if she left!
  • The rental car guy who got angry with Karen because her plane landed after his quitting time of 11pm, causing him to wait.

What do they have in common?


But not Sherri at KFC. She knows that without people forking over their hard-earned money for her product, her organization would fail to exist. That would be quite a loss for our world.

Jazzy nailed it. For outstanding organizations, the customer is never a burden. Period.

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8 Responses

  1. There are a number of buffet restaurants in our city but I always go to the same one because they make me feel appreciated. One day, I was waiting for some family to come and was sitting out in the foyer and the manager stopped out and offered me a beverage while I waited. They are always offering refills and assistance. They are always smiling and love to visit with you. I have never left without a thank you for coming.

  2. Here’s my personal, nit-picky gripe around this exact subject.

    Me (as I leave the restaurant or store of any kind): “Thank you.”
    Them: “No problem!”

    No. That’s wrong.

    “No problem” implies it MIGHT have been a problem, like my being there was in some way burdening them but it’s okay because they don’t mind.

    Every time I hear it, it throws me off. I’m like, “No. Wait. That’s not right. Do you think you’re doing me a favor?” My brain can’t help but react to the unspoken message. Drives me nuts.

    Much better to say “You’re welcome!” or “Thank YOU!” or “Happy to help!” or anything else the recognizes the true nature of the relationship.

    Anyway, that’s my rant. Thanks for listening. 🙂

  3. We were recently visiting with my husband’s mother in Jacksonville Florida and wanted to make some copies of family photos we had come across. Saw an Office Max and decided to get copies made there. We located the self-serve copy area and (I have forgotten his name) was approached by a young man who asked if he could help. We explained we needed some photo copies of documents and some copies of photos on photo paper. He helped us get our items sorted, actually took care of our self-serve items, told us the most economical way to organize our photos for copying, was unfazed when we wanted to pay for our transaction with a bag of change, was jovial and chatty as we departed.
    When we arrived at the exit we realized the door was locked. Then we realized we had walked in just as they were closing! Another cashier unlocked the door but the young man who helped us came over and apologized for the locked door and wished us a good evening.
    He could have made us feel rushed, been impatient to get out of there on time, etc. but we had a great experience!!

    1. Janice, that’s a terrific story. We actually have one similar to that in the Outstanding! book – about someone choosing to be bright and cheery and helpful AFTER closing time! Thanks for sharing!

  4. While on hold for Western Digital product support the recorded message reminded me again and again that they provide 30 days of customer support. You can guess what I was doing, trying to figure out if I had any days left in my customer support. When I finally connected with a support rep, I received excellent help, and he had me on my way in no time. Before I hung up, I asked, “How many days left I had on my support?” I could almost hear him smiling when he said, “I never turn away a customer in need, no matter when they bought the device.”

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