Have a Nice Day, Y’all!

by Chris Bjorklund

chris-image-bon-appetitI was lucky enough to spend 10 days in Richmond, Virginia a few weeks ago for our son’s wedding. Everywhere we went, we encountered warm hospitality. For example, one morning in the hotel, as I left my room and walked toward the elevator, I heard the maid down the hall call out, “Have a nice day, y’all!” I turned around to see to whom she was speaking…and realized she was talking to me! I heard that phrase again and again during our stay.

People of all ages held open doors for each other and offered unsolicited help with directions. The waiters and bartenders spent extra time explaining local foods and menu recommendations. They seemed to enjoy and took pride in offering quality service and making a connection with customers. I don’t know when I’ve seen so many smiles all around town.

As you might expect, a few things went wrong throughout the course of our travels. The flight attendant took an extra long time to deliver my meal. The hairdryer in my hotel room was missing. Due to an influx of visitors for local university graduations and several weddings, restaurants were jammed and waits were longer than usual. But no matter what problem I had, the apology was prompt and sincere. That impressed me.

My brief immersion in true southern hospitality was a good reminder that we should never underestimate the value of a personal greeting, a smile, a sincere apology or simply a kind word in both personal and business interactions. It’s not just good for customer retention—it’s a good way to live longer and happier.

So…have a nice day, y’all!