Service With a Smile

By: Amy Kehm
By: Amy Kehm

Service with a smile may be a cliché, but it's one the city of Staunton is taking seriously. There's a new incentive for city employees who excel at customer service.

Judging by the word on the street, Staunton is pleasing many of its patrons. And the 2002 customer survey says the same. Now, there's even more incentive.

"The customer service key program, is what we're calling it," said Doug Cochran. "It's an effort by the city to emphasize for employees, that good customer service counts. We have these little brown envelopes that no one knows what's inside of it, that is simply handed out to an employee who might do something that is a bit beyond what is normal."

Taking part of your lunch break to speak with a resident. Bending down to pick up some trash. Being extra nice on the phone. It all counts.

"I think they're very nice," said Barbara Bell, an accounting technician for the City. "I think customer service is very important for the city."

Bell got a key award just last week, for helping an elderly man find his lost wallet after a trip to the hospital.

"This program is a way of rewarding in a random, fun sort of way, employees who do that, who go that little bit of extra," said Cochran.

Those little brown envelopes, by the way, hold gift certificates ranging from 5 to 100 dollars. And the program is called the "key program," as in "key to the city." It's what city employees are called on to be.


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