I Appreciate You – Really, I Do!

When that guest service training really pays off

“I APPRECIATE YOU”

That’s what I heard from the young kid getting my popcorn, pretzel, and Junior Mints before my family and I went to see 1989’s Christmas Vacation on the big screen last weekend. There was quite a crowd behind me, yet he remembered to ask me for my rewards phone number, ask if I needed anything else, and looked me in the eye with a big smile and said:

“I APPRECIATE YOU”

I’ve heard this more in the last few years … it’s the new “power phrase” replacing the traditional “thank you,” and I have to say, I felt it.

As I walked away, grease-ready napkins stuffed in my pockets, I got a lump in my throat:  he honestly sounded like he meant it. The kid had had no clue I needed that. (Side note: My recollection is that he looked like Timothée Chalamet  — but on further thought, that could be because I’ve seen the previews of Wonka about 10 times lately. You get it though, sincere, young face).  Anyhoo …

We’ve been seeing these five-buck classic movies since Thanksgiving. We try to have a family and friends dinner every Sunday. This holiday season, we’re mourning the loss of our two final elders in the family, an Auntie and Uncle who have always been there for every UNO and crockpot dinner. Going out to the movies has been a way to get some laughs and distract us from their absence in our homes.

Guest service training … we say it is important, most businesses do some training on it. But it’s not until you experience it yourself, even in the most basic way, do you remember how it can change someone’s experience, their mood, even for a short time. You never know what that customer has been through that is sitting in your restaurants, at your slot machines, or in your movie theater. Long-time Guest Service Trainer for the gaming and hospitality industry, Steve Browne reminds us that, “One of the simpler things in life, one of the most powerful gestures you can make, and yet, oh so hard to do, is engaging another human being with a simple smile and greeting.”

Steve also believes that, “what we sell is the most important thing you could ever sell to someone, a feeling of belonging, of being important, of being a winner …”

Well, I felt valued last Sunday night. And I want to say, to all those front line folks out there who have had to learn their company’s service standards, to all those trainers out there who have invested in guest service training for their team and wondered if anyone was listening, to all those managers who really care, I want to tell you, IT DOES MATTER.

I also want to give a big shout out to Galaxy Theaters in Sparks, Nevada – and all the hard working team members who have served us buckets of popcorn, pretzels, and pizza with a smile for the last month. I called the manager on duty, and he said an exit message is part of their training protocol, but it is up to the team members what phrase they want to use. He also thanked me for taking the time to call in and tell them about the experience.

Hey, what’s showing next weekend?

Christine Faria 50 Articles