What Costco, the North Royalton Post Office and My Dentist Have in Common

Hi, I'm Lisa, and I am a Costco-holic. (Hi, Lisa). Although I am not a fan of most big box stores, a trip to Costco is an adventure that I love. From the delicious food samples to the vast array of interesting products that, once discovered we can no longer live without, I enjoy the entire experience. But that's not what makes me appreciate Costco. It's their people.

From what I understand, Costco treats its employees extremely well. They have more flexibility and earn higher wages than competing stores offer. And it shows. The employees have fun and they ensure an enjoyable trip. When Scott and I first became Costco members, I was poking fun at the Kirtland Brand that reigns supreme all over the store. (Really, is there anything Kirtland DOESN'T put a label on?) With complete and utter sincerity, the Costco employee who I was talking to said, "There is NOTHING that Kirtland makes that is not top notch." Wow, that's commitment. I felt her passion, and I've discovered that she's absolutely right.

Now for the post office. I'll go out on a limb and venture to say that most people do not enjoy a trip to the post office. Face it, it's not generally a place where the employees are delightful, helpful, and fun – except in North Royalton, Ohio. I had a package to deliver and I drove out of my way, right by a neighboring post office, to go to MY post office. It's not that I've had horrible experiences at this other location, it's just not a place where the employees go out of their way to make customers feel special or important.

Not so in North Royalton. The package that I was sending was in an "if it fits, it ships" box. Due to the size of what I was shipping, there was a very slight bulge on one side of the box. A visiting postal worker was taking care of me and was sure if she was "allowed" to take the package. Her colleague, a postal worker who knows me by name, told her, "Of course we'll take Ms. Ryan's package – we love her!" In a long line of people, the clerks treated each customer with the same respect, patience and kindness that I was shown – and not one person complained about the wait.

Another customer handed Gary a notice to pick up a letter. She had had the notice for quite some time and the post office had already sent the letter back. Gary actually apologized to her for the letter not being there. Her response? "Of course, that's what I figured. It's not your fault. Thank you." Politeness, a sincere caring for the customer, and acknowledgment of their problems goes a long way in creating raving fans.

And finally, my dentist. I found Dr. Craig Vinkovich the usual way – by going online and reading testimonials. Funny thing is that Dr. Vinkovich was one of the few dentists who actually had positive recommendations. One trip to his office and I understood why.

I don't like filling out forms. Although a necessary evil, I find them tedious and repetitive, so I opt to have a little fun with them. For example, in the blank where they ask about children, my general answer is, "Do cats count?" When the forms asks if I'm pregnant, the answer is always, "Gosh, NO!" and so on. Frankly, I did not expect the form to be read at all, and certainly not in front of me. As luck would have it, Dr. Vinkovich read my form in its wholeety while I sat in the chair – and he laughed. And then he laughed some more. I knew I found the perfect dentist – one who was not only good at what he does, but who has a terrific sense of humor as well.

The other reason why I love going to his office is the people that he hires. It breaks my heart that his receptionist / office manager, Sandy, is moving to Florida but I know that based on experience, he will hire the perfect person for this position. Sandy is magnificent. She greets patients with a smile and warmth that makes them feel like the most important person on the planet. Because of her unceasing amazing attitude, a few years ago, I sent her a thank you. To this day, she thanks ME for sending it. Little things do make a HUGE difference.

So, what do Costco, the North Royalton Post Office and Dr. Craig Vinkovich's office have in common? Employees who make it an absolute pleasure to patronize these businesses. After all, when employees are treated well, they take better care of their clients. Those employees who feel valued and appreciated, who know that they are contributing to the mission of the organization, and enjoy their jobs go out of their way to provide customer service that reigns heads and tails above the competition.

I have been through other warehouse-styles stores, numerous post offices and have fired several dentists in my life (for reasons that I will definitely not share here), and I choose to give my hard-earned cash to the people who make me feel valued, appreciated, and special for selecting them. Don't you?

Take a moment today to acknowledge the people who make your business great – both your customers and your employees.

Also, please feel free to share how your positive experiences with a firm's employees have made you a loyal, raving fan. Thank you!

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