For almost ten years I have worked in customer service positions of all types. I must say, I always enjoyed it. To me customer service isn’t just making sure you get the customers order correct, it is ensuring you leave a lasting impact upon that customer that does not just represent your employer, but you as a person. With every customer I would always take a moment to sort of, well, eavesdrop. I wanted to get a sense of their mood, their attitude, and their personality. I always try to find something relatable without prying or if need be, change the subject. Of course every customer is different and with every customer my attitude is also different. For instance, if one customer is very soft spoken and polite they may need some comfort conversation, and I will be just that. For another, it may be a feisty customer that wants to joke, laugh, and yes even likes to add a little insult in the conversation as well. I cannot tell you how many friendships I have formed with customers over the years, so much so, I have attended baby showers, birthday parties, and yes, even funerals.
Why am I telling you this? What does it have to do with making an impact?
Because being in a customer service position gives you the ability to impact hundreds if not thousands of lives every single day.
For example, if you are rude or hateful with a customer, then they could possibly leave the store angry. When they leave the store, they get in their car, drive down the road, don’t pay attention because they are still hurt from your attitude…and get into an accident. You see, they weren’t paying attention because they were still upset and thinking of what they “should have said”.
Now if you had been nice, had good conversation, and they had left smiling, then perhaps the outcome would have been different. In a way, you can save lives.
What I like to tell anyone going into any customer service position is this.
- Even when your having a bad day, their day could be worse. When you get a grumpy customer, you don’t know if someone has passed, if they have been sick, or are just exhausted. You should make an effort to be that person they can talk too and even vent too for just a few moments. You may be the person that turns their whole day upright again.
- For children, always be nice, funny, and always reassure moms when their child throws a tantrum that it is OK. Mothers need that reassurance and sometimes you may be the only person to ask a child how their day at school was.
- For elderly, be nice, respectful, and try to learn their names. Most elderly don’t leave their homes often and rarely see anyone other than family, sometimes no one. Most importantly, you may be the ONLY person they have contact with for a while, or even the last person, be sure to make their day a little bit brighter.
I also like to give a few pointers to ensure that even if you aren’t great at conversation or diving into people’s lives, you can still give good customer service.
- Be sincere, make connections, and imagine how you would want your mother, father, grandmother, or nephew treated.
- Don’t complain about your job or other employees, you set a bad tone for not only you but the customer. Honestly it is also not the customers business that “Jan is stocking instead of checking.” You not only make the company look bad, but yourself as well.
- Stop all conversation with other employees around you immediately. The customer deserves your full attention, no one likes to be ignored, not even you.
- Speak up. Customer service is not a position for you if you are shy. Elderly can be hard of hearing and children can be loud.
- Always, greet, smile, and compliment.
Now all of that being said, this goes both ways, customers also have the ability to impact an employee’s life as well, but that will be another article.
If you are in a customer service position, go a little further than you normally would go with a customer. Dive into their day, their life, their challenges, and make a new friend.