Recently, I've been quite taken with reruns of a show called "Undercover Boss." The show follows CEOs as they go undercover to work in their own companies. They invariably discover shortcomings in their firm's operations, such as computer systems that don't communicate and systemic issues that hinder their company's mission. What they also find is employees that magnify their position, making the most out of their time, and cheerfully create an environment that helps everyone around them excel. At first, I found the show interesting because of my own work in helping Grant County businesses succeed. I've realized, after watching a few episodes, that the real reason I'm watching this show is nostalgia.

I feel that we've lost something when it comes to customer service. Maybe it happened when the internet destroyed our ability to wait, or arose from the vapid, shallow cesspool of social media that replaced nuanced civil discourse with memes. Maybe it's just some inevitable evolution that all societies experience. Whatever the reason, at some point we stopped asking "What can I do for you?" and started asking "what do you need?"

That might seem like a small distinction, but I think it marks a shift in how we as a society approach customer service. The first question is open-ended. Contained within that question is the promise that the customer is the primary focus, and that the person providing the service is prepared to do whatever it takes to keep the customer happy. The second question is inherently closed. It assumes that the person serving the customer will do just enough to satisfy the customer's immediate need, and no more.

We don't get ahead by doing just enough. A swimmer who does just enough is only treading water. That might be enough to keep us afloat, but it certainly won't get us anywhere. I hope that we can get back to asking "What can I do for you?" and return to the mindset of putting the customer first. There's no doubt that such a mindset requires effort. It requires each of us to step off our own personal pedestal and keep the needs of other people foremost in our minds.

It isn't the easiest way to operate, but the easiest way is rarely the best way.

At the end of every episode of Undercover Boss, the CEO meets with the employees he worked with, and gives them gifts as a reward for their performance on the job. While most people aren't going to get personally rewarded by their CEO, we all benefit when we adopt the "What can I do for you" mindset.

Good customer service helps a business retain customers and builds a solid reputation for the company. On a personal level, "what can I do for you?" will lead to your knowing that you did all you could to make another person's day a little better. It's a kind of deep satisfaction that you can't buy, and it's a key ingredient in building a vibrant, dynamic community.

Content on the Beat

WARNING: All articles and photos with a byline or photo credit are copyrighted to the author or photographer. You may not use any information found within the articles without asking permission AND giving attribution to the source. Photos can be requested and may incur a nominal fee for use personally or commercially.

Disclaimer: If you find errors in articles not written by the Beat team but sent to us from other content providers, please contact the writer, not the Beat. For example, obituaries are always provided by the funeral home or a family member. We can fix errors, but please give details on where the error is so we can find it. News releases from government and non-profit entities are posted generally without change, except for legal notices, which incur a small charge.

NOTE: If an article does not have a byline, it was written by someone not affiliated with the Beat and then sent to the Beat for posting.

Images: We have received complaints about large images blocking parts of other articles. If you encounter this problem, click on the title of the article you want to read and it will take you to that article's page, which shows only that article without any intruders. 

New Columnists: The Beat continues to bring you new columnists. And check out the old faithfuls who continue to provide content.

Newsletter: If you opt in to the Join GCB Three Times Weekly Updates option above this to the right, you will be subscribed to email notifications with links to recently posted articles.

Submitting to the Beat

Those new to providing news releases to the Beat are asked to please check out submission guidelines at They are for your information to make life easier on the readers, as well as for the editor.

Advertising: Don't forget to tell advertisers that you saw their ads on the Beat.

Classifieds: We have changed Classifieds to a simpler option. Check periodically to see if any new ones have popped up. Send your information to and we will post it as soon as we can. Instructions and prices are on the page.

Editor's Notes

It has come to this editor's attention that people are sending information to the Grant County Beat Facebook page. Please be aware that the editor does not regularly monitor the page. If you have items you want to send to the editor, please send them to Thanks!

Here for YOU: Consider the Beat your DAILY newspaper for up-to-date information about Grant County. It's at your fingertips! One Click to Local News. Thanks for your support for and your readership of Grant County's online news source—

Feel free to notify if you notice any technical problems on the site. Your convenience is my desire for the Beat.  The Beat totally appreciates its readers and subscribers!  

Compliance: Because you are an esteemed member of The Grant County Beat readership, be assured that we at the Beat continue to do everything we can to be in full compliance with GDPR and pertinent US law, so that the information you have chosen to give to us cannot be compromised.