The Secret to Getting More Tips and Satisfaction in the Service Industry

February 2, 2011

Yesterday I was helping a friend move into her new apartment and I got a parking ticket.

I parked on one of the side streets to unload my car and in between one of our runs I got a ticket for parking in a red zone… for $77. My first reaction was “that’s so unfair!  I don’t deserve this!” but is that true? What is fair? What do I deserve?

In all honesty, “fairness” hasn’t done much for me so far. So many of us today get stuck on “it’s not fair”. Think about the people you know who say that a lot, what kind of results are they getting? Chances are they whine a lot, don’t achieve much, and generally are not the kind of people you’d like to emulate. When something happens to you, there are two ways you can react.

One is by saying “life’s not fair” and becoming a victim of circumstances. We’ve all heard this before right? The victim mindset! Completely useless and used to feel bad for yourself, which is another useless endeavor.

The other way to react is by accepting what happened, then taking the best action to solve the problem or deal with the consequences. The amazing thing is that once you’ve accepted what happened, your ability to solve the problem goes way up! You’re no longer caught on the “this isn’t fair” train and all of a sudden, a practical solution becomes a lot more clear.

As I pondered this parking ticket more the other thought I had, was “I don’t deserve this”. It’s related to the “it’s not fair” feeling, but something worth considering as well. What do we deserve? My mindset, and the mindset that has given me the most satisfaction and success is the thought that we don’t deserve anything. There is a big difference between confidence and a sense of entitlement. When you feel like you deserve something, you are bringing with you a sense of entitlement. That sense of entitlement is always attached to your ego. As we do the necessary work to bring more awareness to our ego, we find that the sense we “deserve” something goes out the window and can be replaced with genuine confidence. Confidence is knowing that you are good enough, regardless of the outcome. When the ego gets involved, the outcome often dictates how we feel because there is a lack of that deep inner confidence that will never change.

Let’s talk about the service industry.

I have several friends that work in the service industry, either as bartenders or servers. I hear them complain all the time about people who don’t tip.  A lot of what I hear is “I deserve to get tipped more”. Based on what? I feel we “deserve” to get tipped exactly what the customer feels like tipping us. Does that mean I don’t believe in tipping? Absolutely not. I believe that as a recipient of tips, having the mindset that you “deserve” 20%, or whatever you believe, is driven by your ego, and in the end will not make you happy, and you’ll end up actually getting tipped less.

How often do we see people in positions where they get tipped on their service to us and they act like they deserve our gratitude in the form of money (a.k.a. gratuity). That doesn’t make me want to tip them at all, and I’m sure many of you feel the same way.  So I know what you might be thinking now… you’re thinking “but Dave, even though I feel I should get a 20% tip, I don’t act that way.”

I disagree.

Whether we like it or not, our thoughts become actions.  If this is the first time you’ve heard this phrase, it won’t be the last.

Thoughts become actions.

If you think you deserve a tip, you will act like you are entitled. It may not be obvious 100% of the time, but it will come out, and when it does, it will frustrate both you and the customer. On the other hand, if you truly believe in the idea of gratuity being gratitude and it representing the customer going above and beyond what is expected to show you their appreciation for your service, not only will you feel better about yourself but the customer will feel that in your actions, and will mostly likely respond more positively.

Thoughts become actions.

If you want to change the way you act, change the way you think.


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