SEEing the impact of emotional labor

June 13, 2011

I've posted many times about customer service, but here's probably the best example of emotional labor I've seen in a long time:

I helped a friend pick out some new eyeglass frames this weekend. We were getting exceptional service from Hanna and Tanya at SEE in LA's Beverly Center. We felt welcomed and unrushed. About half-way through the transaction, we discovered it was Hanna's last day -- and almost last hour -- on the job. She was leaving to go back to school and take care of her grandmother. You'd never know. She was engaged and working hard to find frames that flattered my friend's face. She was patient and thoughtful and actually seemed to be having fun. We were amazed to learn she had less than 90 minutes left till the end of her final shift.

Contrast that with the eyewear store down the way, SCENE, a name that clearly reflected its philosophy. It was loud and the sales team was snotty, often insulting, and interested more in showing off expensive frames or frames they liked rather than helping my buddy get frames that were appropriate for him. Even though there was a pair that he liked just as much -- and on sale -- at SCENE, we walked back down to SEE and bought there. He even bought sunglasses!

So there's the upside of emotional labor. Customers value it -- sometimes more than they value a good deal. What does that mean for you?

Learn more about customer service best and worst practice by reading these posts!

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