Fake nice versus real nice


After visiting several stores and restaurants this past weekend, I was reminded of the differences between staff who are genuinely nice, and those who are just pretending to be nice. The first group actually cares about your experience at their restaurant, store, or other venue. But the second group is only reading the script and smiling on cue because their boss told them to. Here’s a few examples of each:

Businesses where I’ve found the staff to be genuinely nice:

– Starbucks (about 75% of the time)
– Trader Joe’s
– Potbelly Sandwich Works
– Flight 001 (a superb store if you’re lucky enough to live in a city that has one)

Businesses where the staff just seems to be faking it to earn a paycheck:

– Starbucks (the other 25% of the time)
– Any department store cosmetic counter
– Specialty clothing stores (like J. Crew)
– Virtually any museum
– Anything real estate related (brokers, leasing offices, etc.)
– Car dealers
– Hotels

I don’t know enough about these companies to say what makes the first group so genuine, and the second group so empty and stilted. But there’s definitely a difference, and it’s worth thinking about as you hire, train, and create incentive plans for your own staff members.