This is one of those likability rules that just makes sense. We all want to be around the people who make us laugh or smile or feel good about ourselves, and we try avoid the people who make us feel … well, not so good about ourselves.
The Kihei, Hawaii Post Office is a good example of what I’m talking about. It has a reputation for being the gathering place for South Maui residents. On some days it seems like everyone who lives on Maui meets there just to garner a few minutes of attention from the retail clerks working the counter.
If you surveyed the people standing in line you would quickly discover that half of us don’t have anything of consequence to mail. We just like how the clerks make us feel about ourselves. But how do they do it, particularly while working in such a busy post office?
For me, the good feelings start immediately. The moment I walk in the door virtually every clerk working behind the counter looks up with a smile and acknowledges my existence with a nod or a wave.
Then, when it’s my turn to be served, they look up and greet me by name. “Hello Bob.” or “Good morning Mr. Sommers.” By using my name they make me feel both welcome and important.
When my transaction is completed every clerk within hearing distance looks up and bids me farewell … again by name. “See you later Bob.”
I don’t think many of us who come to the post office think we’re anything special, but you wouldn’t know it by the way the retail clerks treat us. As far as they’re concerned, everyone is special and they happily convey that message to their customers day in and day out.
We like the people who elevate us and make us feel good about ourselves, and in return, we like them back. The people who understand this principle go to work with a whistle on their lips while their co-workers look for excuses to call in sick.
Who’s the real winner here? Is it the clerks at the Kihei, Maui, HI post office or is it their customers? I contend it’s both.