It’s all-too-easy to complain about poor customer service.

We’ve all done it.

We blame the cable company for hiking up rates and madly call the company (only to be placed on hold for way too long). The result of the call is poor customer service paired with not getting what we want (boo-freaking-hoo).

But what about our customer behavior? Who holds us accountable?

Brené Brown, TEDx speaker and author of Daring Greatly, asks:

“Everyone wants to know why customer service has gone to hell in a handbasket. I want to know why customer behavior has gone to hell in a handbasket.”

I recently had an interaction with a barista that has changed the way I view customer service.
It reminded me that those providing us with customer service deserve to be engaged and interacted with, paid attention to, and humanized.
The interaction went something like this:

I ordered my high-maintenance drink.*
I paid, and then stepped aside to wait for my drink to be made.
This waiting period usually involves whipping out my smartphone to check email or facebook.
But this time, my phone stayed put in my purse.
This time, I watched the barista.
She poured the fat free/whole milk combination with precision (making it a perfect blend of 2% milk).
She carefully measured a teensy bit of chocolate.
She steamed the milk.
She drew the shots of espresso when they were done (not letting them sit too long), and then poured the milk into the espresso-light-chocolate mixture, and made a cute design…only to cover it up with whipped cream.
When she handed it to me, I looked her in the eye and said one word: “Beautiful.”
She looked back at me.
Her eyes welled up with tears and said: “You just made my day.”

I remember smiling, walking away, and thinking how my one-word compliment didn’t deserve to make her day.

But regardless, her response has inspired me to start giving better customer behavior.

Because if you want better customer service, work on giving better customer behavior.

*A short 2% latte with less than a tablespoon of chocolate, but still topped with a dollop whipped cream.  Yes, I realize that technically, this is a mocha, but when I emphasize to the barista that it’s more latte than it is mocha, they put the correct amount of chocolate in it.

TINYtreatsI have a confession to make: I love to bake.  Given the time, any motivation whatsoever (e.g., It’s Thursday!) and enough butter and sugar, I will bake almost compulsively.  I have another confession to make: I don’t particularly care for baked goods.  Of course I will happily have a taste of the browned butter carrot cake I just made.  It wouldn’t be out of character for me to nibble on one of my mom’s molasses cookies.  But a whole piece of cake?  A second cookie?  Call me crazy, but I’ll almost always pass.

So what happens when it just happens to be Thursday night and I find myself in a kitchen suddenly populated with these bad boys?  Friday at the office gets just a little bit sweeter.

Our company uses TINYpulse, a tool through which employees answer a weekly question about the work environment and provide comments anonymously.  Each week, a member of our team will lead a discussion around the latest TINYpulse results.  When I reviewed the TINYpulse results two weeks ago, I also asked my coworkers to vote on one of two TINYtreats that they’d like me to bring into the office, with TINYorange poppy seed cookies edging out TINYbutterscotch cookies.

Baking may seem small, like something fluffy and nice that’s just a means to a delicious end.  And yes, baking can be pink frosting and apron strings, but it can also wrap itself around you, warm ovens and the smell of slightly burnt sugar coaxing almost forgotten memories from the back corner of your mind, until you are all but under your grandma’s feet, begging to lick the mixing bowl.

The orange poppy seed cookies that I brought in for our TINYpulse meeting impacted the office in a profoundly positive way.  I am new to the thinkspace team, and baking for my coworkers is a great way for me to share a part of myself with them, and allow them to get to know me a little better.  Baking can bring people together, can create connections.  And inviting people to be a part of that process by asking them to vote between two baked goods encourages participation.

So in the spirit of building community, I invite you to participate.  On Tuesday, April 22, I will bring a batch of homemade cookies to work.  Which would you like to see?

Voting is open to everyone, but the cookies are only available to those who stop by the front desk.  Yes, I will be sitting here with a giant plate of cookies in front of me.  I love to bake, and I only bake for people I like, because baking is a huge part of me and something that I am extremely passionate about.  On a stressful day, a freshly baked cookie may just be the sweet reprieve you and your coworkers need to make it to 5 o’clock in one piece.

So come to thinkspace on the 22nd!  Come to say hello, to meet our awesome front desk staff, to connect with some of our members.  At the very least, come for the cookies.

thinkspace---4thOffice space in Redmond – and at thinkspace – is a valued resource.  Startups and employers are drawn to Redmond’s corporate environment, and as businesses continue to grow and expand, thinkspace has made the decision to grow with them.  In order to meet the needs of our community, thinkspace is excited to announce that a fourth floor will soon be added its Redmond location.  Currently, the three floors at the Redmond location are full of thriving and energetic members.  But as more and more startups and companies move into the area seeking office space and an entrepreneurial community, the decision was clear.  An addition of a fourth floor will start this summer, and its completion is estimated (weather permitting) late fall of 2014.

Current thinkspace members located on the third floor will need to work elsewhere during this construction and transition.  They will be encouraged to work at neighboring coffee shops and parks.  Thinkspace will provide them with wifi connections wherever they decide to work from, and personally deliver incoming mail and packages to avoid any major inconveniences.

Thank you for celebrating with us as we expand!

And yes, if you haven’t figured it out yet…this is an April Fool’s joke!!!
Because haven’t you heard?  We have expanded to Seattle!  That is our “fourth floor.” :)

***Can you find the “Nap Room” in this fictional floor plan?