It has become commonplace to hear that there is no such thing as good customer service. In fact, most everyone can share a recent bad experience.
Of course it should be the waiter/retail associate/cashier/phone rep/professional’s job to be pleasant to the customer. However, as a former retail associate (during my college years) I firmly believe there are actions that we can take to receive good (and better) customer service.
Yes, you may be having a horrible day but there is no reason to take that it out on the person assisting you. If you walk into a store and are greeted, respond. If you are only looking politely say so. When you are checking out at your local grocery or retail chain say hello and acknowledge the cashier. There have been times I have observed customers rarely look at the cashier. Remember this is a human and not a robot. How would you feel if you stood on your feet for 8 hours and only received grunts (if even a grunt).
Put Your Phone Away
Recently there was an article circulating that a restaurant observed that patrons were taking longer to place orders because they were on their phones at the table and often did not acknowledge the wait staff. I’ve witnessed customers talk on the phone while they were checking out and recently observed a man on his headset during the whole transaction. If I am on the phone at a store, I always end the conversation before I go to check out. Additionally, if the phone rings while I am in line I either send the call to voice mail or text I can’t talk. Very few phone conversations are so important that they can’t wait a few minutes. Sales Associates/Wait Staff remember individuals who are rude. This is a sure way to confirm you will continue to receive poor service.
Engage With Customer Service Staff
You can engage with staff on many different levels. Let the staff know if you are looking for something specific. Question what their favorite menu items is on the menu, new piece of clothing on the sales floor or their favorite coffee drink. Not only do these events help you in making a decision but they will establish a rapport with the staff. A note I have learned from my husband is to use the sales person’s name. Say “Hi __________” when placing your items on conveyor belt or “Thank You _________” when your bill is handed to you. One clerk was so shocked when my husband used her name that she asked “How did you know?” We pointed out she had on a tag. (I’m almost certain few people had engaged with her that day). It made her smile and she remembered us the next time I went through her line.
If There Is A Problem Say So Immediately (and Politely)
There are going to be things that go wrong. Items ring up incorrectly. Food is cold. This is a part of the customer service world. By letting the staff know in a kind way that there is an issue, you are establishing that you are not hostile and are hoping for an easy exchange. Remember that hostile behavior places the staff in a defensive manner and they are automatically on guard.
Complete Customer Service Surveys
Many stores point out that they would like for you to review their service. Many encourage you to do so with the promise of a free appetizers or a chance at a gift card. If you provide a positive review of a sales associate, it is common for management to share this with the employee.
Although the staff may not know you are the one providing the feedback, it can encourage them to continue their positive behaviors. One of the reasons I have grown to know the staff at my local White House/Black Market is upon one of my first visits I received such great customer service I shared so on the survey. I provided my name and the next time I entered the store the manager recognized me. I firmly believe it is as important to provide positive feedback as it is negative.
By no means do I want this to sound as if is the customer’s sole responsibility to make sure they receive good service. There are times when individuals in the customer service industry are rude. The product is not of good quality and the experience is simply bad. However all relationships in this world are two sided. As customers, we bring something to the table. Please and thank you can be music to any one’s ears. Think about that next time you are waiting in your doctor’s office, standing in line at Target or waiting behind the person who doesn’t know what they are ordering at Starbucks.
Do you have suggestions on how to receive good customer service?
This post is part of How To Tuesday which appears the first and third Tuesday of each month.
Sheryl is a transition coach, trainer and speaker from Lexington Kentucky. As the author of the blog How to Make A Life, she uses her own life and journey as a blueprint to help others find motivation, inspiration and hope for a healthy and happy life. About Twitter Instagram Pinterest