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Monday, August 5, 2013

More great customer service in Panama

I'm so excited. This past week was awesome. I met some really cool people who demonstrated excellent customer service. First, I had to visit Do It Center to pick up a few things. Do It Center is kind of like Home Depot, but smaller.

I was looking for a wet/dry vacuum for my car. Getting your car washed here in Panama is very inexpensive, usually about $4-$5, and you can find a car wash on every major street, but for some reason I just hate going to get my car washed. I find that the car wash employees do an excellent job on my car, but they're very slow. For that reason, I usually ride around in a dirty car. So, I've decided to start washing my car myself on the weekend. 

So, there I was at Do It Center, sorting through the vacuums, trying to find a reasonably priced one, when Keila, a very nice young lady asked if I needed help. I did my best to explain to her, in broken Spanish, which vacuum I was interested in. It turned out the one I wanted was way up on the top shelf, where, even with a step ladder, she wouldn't be able to reach. She told me to wait a sec, then disappeared and returned with Eliecer, a happy and energetic young man, who hopped up on the ladder and started fishing out vacuums for me. 

Keila and Eliecer

One of the great things about Panama, or at most of the stores anyway, is the fact that the employees usually take the item out of the box, plug it in, and test it to make sure it's working properly, before allowing you to purchase the item. Keila and Eliecer worked together like relay racers as he opened the box, pulled everything out, handed it to her, and she plugged it in. 

They were incredible, almost like a pit crew at Nascar. 

It took several attempts before I found a vacuum I liked, and these two were customer service pros, never getting aggravated or losing patience with the crazy gringo who couldn't commit to a freakin' vacuum. I asked if they minded posing for a photo, and was surprised that they were both willing. They were all smiles, just as they were through my entire experience. This was the Do It Center in Villa Lucre, and I hope somehow their boss comes across this post and gives them both a pat on the back.

Sunday afternoon, my wife and I took all the kids to TGIF "Friday's" for lunch. I hate to say that at most of the Fridays I've been to, the service is just okay at best. At the Los Pueblos Friday's, I sat for over a half-hour just waiting for someone to take my order, and the restaurant was nearly empty. The new Friday's at Multiplaza Mall was a much better experience.

The place was packed, so we had to wait about twenty minutes for a table, but once seated everything was great. Archi was our waiter, and the dude was awesome. He approached us as soon as we sat down, took our order, and returned rather quickly with our drinks. 

Archi, our awesome waiter at Friday's in Multiplaza Mall

Archi took his job very seriously and never missed a beat. He smiled the entire time, gave us everything we asked for (not easy when there's a table with 4 kids) and even refilled my drink 3 times. That's almost unheard of in Panama (sorry my Panamanian friends, but you know it's true). 

So, that's my short post for today. These three workers deserve a raise and a hand shake. Thanks Keila, Eliecer, and Archi, for making my week a little easier.