My friend Pelagie who lives in Remera will always go to this hair saloon in Nyabugongo. When I asked her why she drives all the way to that saloon, her answer was as simple as this: “The staff is friendly, they know me very well and always give me the best service”.
I don’t think Pelagie really gets an exceptional service in this saloon but the fact is that most of us chose a company depending on the customer service attitude of the staff that takes care of us.
The last time I talked to Felix who had just moved from one of the banks in Kigali to another, he proudly said, “guess what, my clients have followed me here”.
This clearly shows the power of the service staff whose primary responsibility is to “be the company” in the eyes of the customer.
During my training sessions, I’m frequently asked the following question: “What should be the main qualities of a service person? “
A customer facing person is first of all a ‘people person’ who likes interaction and who has a great deal of emotional intelligence. He is an outgoing person who can easily link up with people. If you are shy and unable to talk to people, I really don’t see how you could be in a job where you deal every time with people.
For me, a customer facing person’s first assets should be a smiling face and a positive mindset.
A smiling face is definitely an important feature that every customer facing person should have. It shows the customer that you are happy he has decided to enter your shop instead of the one next door.
A positive mindset helps you to understand how important the customer is to you and your business. You don’t see the customer as an “extra job” or someone who is coming to “disturb” but rather you know this quotation by Henry Ford that says “It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages”.
They understand that the client is “MONEY” not just for their companies but for their pocket.
In every interaction with customers, customer facing people can choose to provide a level of care that is exquisite and build big “emotional bank accounts” with customers that will keep them connected to their businesses and keep them happy while they come back.
Customer facing people should set an intention every day to be the best they can be at their work. They should find joy in the job they do and be proud of it.
They should be enthusiastic and excited about dealing with customers. If you walking nonchalantly by dragging your feet as if forced to be in that office or shop, you are definitely not giving a good image of yourself and your business.
Of course, sometimes the customer is wrong, sometimes he is mean, sometimes he tells lies, and sometimes he drives you crazy.
But being right or wrong is not the point. The job of a service person is to be so skillful that even if the client is wrong, angry, nasty or just having a bad day, he has the ability to turn a bad situation into a better one.
A highly skilled customer facing person is a magician, able to transform and diffuse difficult situations into good ones.
A customer facing person is like an actor performing on a stage because service is not like a manufactured good that can be made ahead of time and put on the shelf. It happens in the moment, as needed by the customer.
Just like an actor, there will be days when the service person doesn’t feel good but has to act “as if” he was. It takes a great performance to swallow one’s personal problems and give a good service.
The actor knows that the spectator has paid for the “show” and he needs to offer a good performance.
Really think about the good things about being in a customer facing job. Appreciate the power and opportunity that rest in your hands. You are so lucky to be in a job where you can easily market yourself.
So make the commitment today to be the best you can be and have fun doing a good work.
The writer is a customer care expert currently working in Kigali, Rwanda