Do you write notes to your server on your credit card receipts or bills when you go out to eat? I don't. But I think I should start. Especially when I have great service. It sounds kinda corny, I know, but I can't tell you how that can change someone's night to know they are doing a good job. Especially when you're in the service industry.
Last night I was having a pretty decent evening. My tables were easy, they all seemed happy and I wasn't busy so I was able to give them my full attention. I like nights like that. They're not especially profitable, but sometimes you just need a night like that to recharge. Unfortunately, about halfway through my shift I had a very large table, with a relatively large bill, leave me a very small tip. (Less than 10%, which I think most people would agree is not acceptable.) I was pretty irritated. And when that happens I always wonder if I somehow had been doing my job poorly. Maybe I didn't refill drinks fast enough? Maybe I checked on them too many times? For me, a poor tip makes me both irritated and reflective.
So after grumbling and muttering and wondering if I had done something wrong, I let the matter drop. It's NEVER worth worrying about for more than a few minutes, though it's not exactly easy to put out of mind. Then later that night I had a small table come in. I treated them the same as I treat all my other tables, and when I went back to grab their receipt after they left, they had written "Thank you. Great Job!" at the bottom of the slip.
It's nice to see a little note like that when you've been questioning your performance. I may not have the best job ever, but it's nice to know I do a pretty good job at it.
I suppose I'm writing this to remind myself, and anyone else out there, that little words of encouragement do matter, to everyone, in every profession. So if someone is doing a great job at something, don't be afraid to let them know. You never know, it might be just what they needed to hear.