Monday, February 20, 2012

Lay it On Me, Daddy-O

Recently I have taken a review course on Customer Service that reinvigorated my waning skills. Really? Customer service skills are so elementary that at times you are surprised that you have to be reminded.

But reminded you must because any time spent with the general public will make you want to go postal.

From my refresher course I was struck by the main idea of treat your guests as you would like to be treated! Sinfully simple!

So, as silly as it sounds, I decided to treat every guest with the utmost respect and to be extremely charming as to ensure they have a positive experience. This entails answering repetitive questions over and over such as ....

"How do you get to the So and So?",

"Where are your bathrooms?"

"How much is this?"

"Can I have four quarters?"

"Where does all the money go?"

"Why is it so expensive?"

"Do you think Elvis is really dead?"

"Do you get tired of hearing this music every day?"

"You must love working here!!"

"Did you meet Elvis?"

Most the time it is fun and most the time people are really great. A lot of the time I get to meet people who actually did know Elvis and those are the best days.

So, I am half way through my day. A surprisingly very busy day and we asked each other the question "Where are all these people coming from??!!" but it was a pleasant diversion from the typical "off season". But busy busy busy. The non-stop kind.

I am being charming and pleasant as to ensure a positive experience. A man and woman approach the counter and she lays down some clothing to purchase. The husband and I strike up a conversation about where all the proceeds go, does Lisa Marie ever make an appearence etc. etc. etc. for a few seconds. I ask the wife, because this is the RULE OF THUMB, women do not like you talking to THEIR MAN, so I always engage the female (men are so much easier to talk to ,but alas....)

"So, is he going to be an Elvis fan after today?" I asked her referring to her husband.

"If his mother couldn't convert , far be for me to be able to achieve the impossible".

I ramble on (I suppose) as I rang up her purchases, "I was never a fan until I began working here. Realizing how generous he was and his impact on the culture that still exists today! It's hard not to be a fan".

She raises her head to look at me in the eye, "Who are we talking about?" she asks.

I wanted to reach across that counter and smack her smug face. I screamed out loud in my head, YOUR HUSBAND YOU IDIOT" but I didn't remembering the mantra, "Treat others as you wish to be treated...."

And I just smiled and said, "That will be $95 dollars"

If you wonder why I need to be reminded to be NICE constantly, that is why. Some people are just condescending and I just have to learn to live with it, forget it and move on to the next person, it just may be Elvis' realtor.


Lisa :-] said...

No amount of extra schooling or refresher classes could make me EVER want to have another job that involved getting within 500 feet of customers. Owning my own restaurant completely destroyed any latent customer service skills I might have had. The general public are jerks, and getting worse every day.


I've been on both sides of this coin. You can't win, whatever you do or say. So don't fret about it. SERIOUSLY.

Remembering Grace said...

I try to communicate with my customers solely by email now, but somedays I can't help but get on the phone and then, wow, the stupidity... our training department used to show us the 'fish' video every 18 months or so, the training tool/documentary about the Seattle Fish Market and their exemplary customer service, to remind us that even though we've heard that same stupid question 5000 times, this is actually only the 1st time that specific customer has asked it :)

colleen said...

I was asking those kinds of questions while in Hollywood recently. And I worked in retail for years (a bead shop), so I know.