As I wade through the holiday season, stand in line waiting on customer service and play witness to patrons hurrying and scurrying and sometimes being  grinchy and grunchy,  I can’t help but think about how I can be a better customer and yes, a better customer patient. As one of many hurried shoppers interacting with cashiers and customer service reps, associates, partners, and whatever else we are calling the person from whom we need a smile, information,  our change, and maybe relief, I remember that dealing with the public can be a cross between a migraine and a train wreck.

giftCustomers have high expectations of excellence and sometimes we forget, especially during the holiday season, that there is a human being on the other side of the counter who wants to get her/his shopping done and spend time with their family just as much we do. Hmm, is it a consumer right to be rude, gnarly, impatient and difficult? Is it a patient right to be rude to the front office staff? How can we participate in instead of just receive great service?

For just one holiday moment, as a consumer, let’s give the spiritual gift of patience to the customer service representative who may have been on their feet for the last six hours, bagging merchandise and passing out change and receipts to a hundred faceless customers. Bring a gentle smile to the frowning medical representative who may be on his or her last nerve of seasonal illnesses flanked by holiday crazy. Take a moment and share a word of encouragement and a sincere, heartfelt, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays or whatever greeting of loving kindness you choose to the service associates, regardless of the industry, who are working hard to help us through this holiday season. Be the gift.

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