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People need to see a smiling face … even the pope says so!

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA
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The pontiff reminds employees, and the rest of us, of the essentials of customer service and a truly rich society ... and it doesn't cost a cent!

The managers and staff of the Italian postal service, Poste Italiane, were received at the Vatican by Pope Francis earlier this month, and the message he gave them applies to all of us.

Talking about the changes in the industry, the Holy Father asked them to always put the client and the person “at the center” of their work, notably by smiling.

Faced with the “rapid advances” linked to new technologies, Poste Italiane has had to adapt to the demands of greater “efficiency,” he acknowledged.

But increased cost control and competitiveness should not lead the postal workers to forget that “true richness resides in people,” often treated as numbers. Confronted with this situation, which comes from “spiritual shortsightedness,” the pontiff insisted on customer service as an essential criteria.

For the staff, this translates in concrete terms as an “attitude of availability and good will” when dealing with the pubic. It is important for clients, he highlighted, “to meet people at the counter who do their work well, who don’t sigh or give them the impression that they’re being a burden.”

It’s also “smiling at an old man who’s hard of hearing,” improvised the pope, as the smile is a “bridge from one heart to another.”

In this way, during this work of “restructuring,” the Poste Italiane must remain faithful to its original vocation: “to be at the service of its citizens.”

Francis pointed out in particular that the Poste played a unifying role in the history of Italy, by helping families in remote areas remain in contact. The communication of goods and information is at “the heart of our society,” he noted.

The Poste Italiane employs approximately 140,000 people.

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