I’m Just Curious: Customer service

by Debbie Walker

Customer service is just one of my interests. I’ve even attended a few seminars over the years. I love that stuff.
Many times I have been on either side of that counter. I’ve had all kinds of experiences, some good, some not so good.

One thing I do know is the basics of customer service are quite uncomplicated. Most everyone wants to be acknowledged. It’s really very easy. You simply have eye contact with the customer and either tell them you will be right with them or you signal them with your index finger held up, most people understand that as “Just a minute.” I can’t tell you how much grief that can save in customer service by just giving that little attention.

Twice in the past week I have stood at a service counter for several minutes each. Clerks were on the phone and assisting other people. One was “chatting” with a co-worker. “Chatting” when a customer is being ignored is a big no-no. The clerks all ignored the fact that I was standing there. That little bit of eye contact and a smile acknowledging that I was there would have made a big difference in how I was feeling.

Oh yeah, and customer service is anyone who is being paid for their services rather by the hour, by commission or maybe by the treatment. It includes clerks in a store or even doctors. It’s all customer service. It’s because of these people waiting that you even have a position.

It’s really too bad that all offices and stores don’t do some training on customer service. What little bit it would cost them; they wouldn’t even notice, however, their customers/clients would notice.

One evening in a grocery store a little old lady in line just ahead of me asked the clerk to read her something on a label. That extremely rude clerk started ranting off to that woman about how she wasn’t hired to baby-sit people or read to them. I read it to her myself. As she left the cashier started running her mouth about “these old people.” With every word out of her mouth I was seeing a darker shade of red. I know she wanted my agreement, however, what she got was “I hope if you make it to her age all you find for assistance is someone like yourself.” After I finished checking out I had a chat with the store manager.

Having worked on front line registers and a variety of other customer service positions I know there are people who will try your patience. Stores and offices would be wise to do some of this training. If the company doesn’t offer it, train yourself, there are books. It will help you live longer.

We’re all in a hurry these days. Sometimes we forget we are not the only ones in this hurry-up life. It would be nice if we could all slow down a bit and be more compassionate towards others.

Sometimes folks start out on schedule but wind up waiting until noon for their appointment scheduled at 10 a.m.

That’s just rude. If you have that type of situation talk with whomever does the scheduling and ask them what time you could schedule your next appointment to avoid a two-hour wait. If we don’t speak up these types of things will continue to happen. Don’t be nasty, just communicate. If everyone did this maybe we would see a change.

Okay, so I’m sure you get the idea. There are good and not so good on both sides of the counter. It really only takes common sense and courtesy to make everyone calmer. It has to start somewhere, let it start with each of us.

I’m just curious how far a little common sense and courtesy can take us into a Merry Christmas. It is getting closer!!!

Please contact me at dwdaffy@yahoo.com sub: Customer service.


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