by Larry Williams
I recently got my wife’s attention while dining, when I tipped an amount almost double what was customary. Knowing how I am about customer service, she asked “was the service really that good?” I replied that the service was very good, but I was more impressed with what I learned about our server. She was about to graduate college and through casual conversation, when asked, proceeded to tell me that she has worked full-time waiting tables for the past four years.
An Honorable Profession
There is something to be said for low-wage workers who, during these difficult times, have their priorities straight and work hard to make a living. Many, like our waitress, rely mainly upon “tips” to sustain a reasonable income. I was there once. I know what it’s like to live paycheck-to-paycheck, work for minimum wage and have to rely upon a good night of tips to help make ends meet.
When you think of restaurant servers, taxi cab drivers, hotel services, hair stylists, valet or any profession where tips are customary – think about the person behind the service. The difference of a couple dollars might mean the world to them. They may not chase you down in the parking lot and praise you, but believe me, they are grateful.
There are plenty of lazy people in this world. Minimum or low-wage workers are not one of them. The very fact that they take a job where their overall wage is predicated upon thoughtful customers is, in and of itself, optimistic. How many of you would take that risk?
In customer service training, I encourage employees to always go “above and beyond” and give exemplary service. The Disney model encourages cast members to randomly “Make a Magical Moment” with guests. But recognizing the person behind the service is one way that you, the customer, can give back and encourage excellence in customer service. If the service is not poor and worthy of additional consideration, then consider what your better-than-average gratuity could mean. It could be the motivation that fuels great customer service.
Don’t forget that gratuities are often shared with many employees on the team. Often times, taxes must be paid on these tips. When coupons are used for service, the gratuity should reflect the amount of the service, before the discount is given. Gratuity percentage scales often differ with each profession. These things are often forgotten by a majority of customers, but are vitally important to employees who choose this career path. Yes, that’s another thing you should know. For many, this is their career. At the very least, it is their current chosen path of employment and that too is important.
The best measure to use when considering a gratuity – is compassion. If you want to improve the economy, leave your stamp on the world and/or help someone with their day-to-day expenses – consider leaving a gratuity that recognizes the person and the every day challenges they face. You’ll feel good and they will feel even better! This not only helps the employee but also helps to improve the entire service chain.