I am noticing that the term “customer service” just like the phrase “I love you”, is often utilized, but rarely has sincerity attached. So here I am, attempting to do my part in educating the masses on the do’s and don’ts of true customer service. Having spent my early years in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas; excellent customer service has always been a part of society as Tourism has predominantly been the main economic driver. Providing excellent service is not a concept; it’s a lifestyle.
Excellent customer service is about maintaining a balance. For example; when a patron enters an establishment, we expect to be greeted by the first employee we see. Although we may be having an awful day and would prefer not to be bothered, we expect to be greeted in a genuine manner. Failing to perform this simple yet critical act, risks ruining our entire visit as we will deem the employee(s) rude and use it to validate our gloomy emotional state.
Always appear as if you’re excited about being at work. While on the job, always have a pleasant demeanor. If you look unapproachable, you will most likely get your wish and we will leave you alone, but, at the risk of your establishment’s reputation. While we may not say anything to you, it is almost guaranteed that we will tell your boss or even worse, our friends and family. It is not expected that you show your pearly whites the entire shift but always be prepared to answer questions or assist in locating merchandise. In the food service industry, we are mindful that you are handling our meal so we will most likely have to absorb your negative aura, but we will be telling others about it on social media.
Maintain a high level of professionalism. As we approach you to place our order or while we await our order, we do not want to overhear your conversation with your coworker(s). We want our spending experience to be a magical one and this fantasy is broken when we are forced to hear about how tired you are, how great the party last night was or discussions about shift preferences. Always be aware of the customer and keep your focus on us.
If you don’t know the answer…find out! When a customer approaches to ask you a question, never tell them, “I don’t know”. This response, while it may be factual, gives the impression that the establishment has employed untrained and uncaring personnel. Remember, it is of no concern to the customer that the security guard or the person servicing the merchandise may be outside contractors; if we see you performing a task on the premises, we assume you work for the company and expect you to have answers. If you find yourself in this situation, do not just point the customer in the direction where they can get assistance; walk with them toward that area (without abandoning your post) or call upon someone who can help the customer.
Back off! Well, not literally. Many popular restaurants achieved that status because of their attention to the customers. This is also a balancing act as too many trips by the server to the table to ask, “Is everything okay?” can become annoying. Remember that the persons at the table may be involved in an intense or life-changing conversation. The last thing they need is you interrupting their train of thought. Remember to remain vigilant and diligent without stalking.
I know by now you must have surmised that customers are prima donnas; and that may be the fact in some cases. Whether paying one dollar or one thousand dollars, we expect value and excellent customer service in exchange for our hard-earned money. Interacting with customers is not just a job; it is a calling. You must have a true love for people and a heart for service. Any form of employment that involves customer service, regardless of your role, should be taken seriously. If you find that you desire employment but have a disdain for your fellow human beings, maybe being a collections or repossession agent should be the path you pursue.
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