I was a five time "WOW" pin decorated CSR (Customer Service Representative) at Blockbuster Video.
I was equally proud and surprised at my accomplishments at such an influential American company.
Pride was a big lesson because most of my peers snickered at the solid gold pins and passed them off as "lame". More often than not these co-workers didn't have any...see where I am going with this.
Surprised was the cornerstone of my life lesson I would take with me to this day.
I did not seek out the attention of the higher-ups within our organization. I didn't wake up everyday, look in the mirror and self affirm that "today I will earn a "WOW" pin.
All I did was go to a job that I loved and make people happy, it was really that easy.
Let me explain; When I started working at Blockbuster Video it was a job, nothing more, nothing less. In very short order it opened up a can of wonderful childhood memories of going down to the local video store on a Saturday afternoon (Silver Screen Video) with my dad and my siblings and getting to pick out our video for the night. Mom and dad were going out, there would be pizza ordered, bedtimes were negotiable and we really liked out babysitter. The night was going to be great!
On some occasions the clerk, who had gotten to know us a little, would see us come in, secretly whisper to join him in a private corner and produce a box of just-off-the-shelf movie posters that we could choose from to take home. Truth is that these were probably going to get thrown away and at best the clerk could have just put them in a box that said "FREE", but he gave the event pageantry. He made us feel special and gave us a visual reminder of how wonderful him and Silver Screen Video was to hang on our wall in our bedrooms and stare out until the next poster giveaway came.
ONE TIME, my father suggested going to the newer video store down the street that had just opened and my siblings and I quickly shut him down. Even in our youth we were loyal to Silver Screen Video and the young clerk that gave us so much more than our video pick for the week.
When I became aware of the position I held at Blockbuster Video I silently vowed to replicate that experience as often as I could for the youngsters that came in, seeing myself in all of their faces. I held videos without asking for regulars that had mentioned them in our last conversation and presented it to them on their weekly visit. I waived one day late fees for people that clearly weren't trying to work the system. Unbeknownst to me this resulted in dozens of letters pouring into corporate as accolades and in turn resulted in five solid gold "WOW" pins, but the real takeaway that followed me into every customer facing position I would hold for the rest of my life is how much meaning it gave me, how great I felt about my job and with little effort I could move somebody to take the time to share their positive experience.
Try to find your common ground in service with the people you are serving. Take into account what would move you to write a letter to a superior praising an individual and replicate that action. Be genuine and you will be rewarded, with raises, with bonuses, with accolades and repeat customers-yes, but more importantly with a self-sense of a job well done.