She seemed surprised by the compliment. That’s a shame.
I was on hold for five minutes to a major oil company switchboard. I had called to find a contact who I could talk to about a program that I have for job seekers, and the company had just announced it was laying off thousands. It was no surprise that the switchboard of this major international company was busy.
When the woman’s voice welcomed me and inquired “To whom may I direct your call,” it was calm, pleasant and helpful. It remained so when she responded to my inquiry with a polite, “I cannot make a direct connection for you, but you can go to the web site and make contact there. Your inquiry will be directed.” She paused briefly and then walked me through the entire series of links to place me on the appropriate page. She didn’t have to do that, and clearly there were other calls she could be handling at the time.
When she finished her 90-second overview, I said, “I know that you must be incredibly busy with calls, but you were helpful, poised and quite friendly.” My comments were followed by her silence.
“Thank you. I don’t get many compliments here. Thank you.”
Unfortunately, that is probably much too common. Make someone’s day and pay a sincere compliment.