You Can Ring My Bell…Or Not A Kroger opened in our neighborhood. You’ve gotta love that new store smell and the fresh and perky employee attitudes. This store is awesome! It has a Sushi Bar, a Starbucks and, the Express Lanes have a sign that states, “About 15 items.” Sweet! The pressure is off. As usual, we are out of milk, cereal and dog food. I’m on a fast grocery run between kid pick-up and 17 other errands. I approach the checkout and see that you can ring a bell for exceptional service. When you “ding,” everyone yells, “WOOOOO!” I don’t know why this cracks me up, but it does. So I have been experimenting. If I ring the bell the moment I arrive at the cashier, does that ensure better service? If I don’t ring the bell, do the checker and bagger feel disappointed? Do I get to yell, “WOOOOO!” or is it just for employees? After many failed attempts at gathering any true intel, I decided to ask. Except, I may have asked the wrong cashier. “Excuse me, do you get happy when people ring the bell?” “Not really.” “Really?!?” “Well, I only like it when a manager is around to hear it. Mostly, it’s just annoying.” This was a totally unexpected answer. Seriously? Doesn’t everyone want their bell rung? (That doesn’t sound right — but stick with the story). Doesn’t everyone want to provide great service, whether a manager is around or not? If great service happens and a manager isn’t around to witness it, did it actually take place? As a frequent bell ringer, I walked to my car downtrodden. It’s like finding out there is no Easter Bunny or the real age of Mick Jagger. Sitting in the car, I thought about what just happened and there are some great lessons here: What you think motivates your employees, kids, bosses, partners… may not be what actually motivates them. Hire, surround yourself and make friends with people who want the bell ringing. Check your own “WOOOOO!” Are you doing things that motivate others to want to ring your bell? Great service, attitude, professionalism? Are you ringing others’ bells regardless of who is or is not watching? SO… Will I still ring the bell? Absolutely! If I truly get good service, the world should know! In this crazy life, there’s still nothing like giving and getting a real, “WOOOOO!” Go forth today, “WOOOOO” and be “WOOOOOed.” Now more than ever we need more cheerleaders, fewer critics and better customer service.