Having made Aliya from Australia almost 20 years ago my exposure to Americans has been limited to those who I have met along this Aliya journey; Americans, like me, who have made Aliya or tourists.
Recently I had the pleasure of flying to the US for business and had the opportunity to meet Americans in their natural environment. IsraelPharm, our online pharmacy, presented at a Seniors exhibition in Jacksonville Florida. It was a great experience and from a professional point of view, we were thrilled to give so many seniors a better chance of paying for their meds.
While we were in the US we decided to take a few days out and see what the “big apple” was all about. We saw shows, ate real American size portions of food, had the best ribs I’ve ever tasted, visited Times Square and rode the subway. I was fascinated by the people we met along the way – Americans from all cultures, not on holiday or dedicated to torah studies but living their regular life and treating me as the tourist.
Here’s a few sweeping statements that crossed my mind when people watching over the New Yorkers (hope I’m not offending anyone here!)
The subway – People were loud, as I expected them to be, totally unaware that they were in a private conversation, while allowing me (and the rest of New York) to hear the whole conversation.
The food – Americans drink a lot of alcohol and eat a tremendous amount of food (coming from Australia that is a statement). We thoroughly enjoyed the amount of Kosher options out there.
The spending – Americans spend money freely for a society that is in debt. OK, OK we were in New York where everyone seems to eat lunch and dinner out and do endless amounts of shopping.
Customer service! – Everyone was always friendly and helpful. New Yorkers have been given a rap as a hard people who are abrupt and rude – I didn’t find this all. Service in stores was great and I felt that servers genuinely wanted to help. I found store clerks to be extremely polite and cared about service they were giving. Airport security staff and police officers were curious and friendly – we could learn a heck of a lot in Israel from them.
Here in Israel, I own a chain of pharmacies, as well as IsraelPharm, and we always do our best to provide excellent customer service. According to my experience with Israeli customer service standards ours is excellent but it wasn’t a patch on what we experienced in the US. Do our standards automatically drop when we make Aliya? Does it have to be this way? Anyone else know what I’m talking about? It feels like we have given up the expectation of receiving good customer care……..
With thanks to my US trip, I have come back with a renewed sense of what customer service should be and intend to step up my game, even if no one else is following me. We need to learn that even if we have a tiresome job – we should appreciate having a job and the ability to help someone. If you are a government worker – listen up – STOP playing the “eved kimloch” (a slave who acts like a king) card and appreciate that you have a position that can help people, be polite and help – that is what you are paid for. It’s not just about helping the customer it’s about helping your colleagues as well. I personally get a great feeling out of helping others.
So y’all – enjoy your work today and use what you do to help others, rather than passing the time till you get off your shift. Help as many customers or patients or attendees or whatever service industry you work in and let me know how good it felt – I went the extra mile a few times this week….. and it felt good!