Dr Maya Angelou, a remarkable renaissance woman and a great voice of contemporary literature, said in one of her legendary wisdom speeches that, “If you don not like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.”
What are some of your attitudes you need to change today in terms of customer service? Do you know that some of those attitudes actually speak bad about you, your company and even Rwanda?
When I went to this big government office one morning to drop a document, I had to wait for one and half hours before the chap came back from lunch. He came in smelling of food, picking up on his teeth, rubbing his stomach as if he had just returned from a big feast.
In another company I visited, the lady promised to get back to me on a certain issue and I had to wait for three days until I decided to call back myself. When I challenged her on her inability to keep her promise, she simply asked me why I was making a fuss about this.
Some other time, I had an appointment with a man who was late for 40 minutes. When he came, he just sat there without uttering a word of apology as if the 40 minutes of lateness was not worth an apology.
His attitude made me feel like I should rather thank God that he turned up.
Are these attitudes like the ones you sometimes portray to people you deal with? Breckler and Wiggins define attitudes as “mental and neural representations, organised through experience, exerting a directive or dynamic influence on behaviour.”
Positive attitude can be defined as a helpful state of mind or a feeling regarding a situation or fact. It is how we perceive events, experiences and things in our lives. It is also how we see mentally certain issues in our daily lives.
Let’s be frank with one another and look through our inner mind and soul and I’m sure we can pinpoint some of those negative attitudes we need to change.
This is because customer service is all about attitudes. It doesn’t matter how educated you are, or how many books you have read, or even what is your level in the society. If you do not have the right attitude, you will never have outstanding relationships.
There is an extensive list of negative attitudes we need to change and the following five are the most crucial and urgent ones we need to adopt today:
How much time your lunch break takes? Do you sometimes put yourself in the shoes of people who are waiting for you while you are dragging your feet and chatting on your way back with your colleagues?
And please, when you are out of the office, do put an information note on your desk so that your customers know what time you will be back. Aim at respecting time today.
Respect your commitments
The last time you promise to call back the customer, did you do that at the promised time?
What is your attitude toward the commitments you make? Let’s adopt positive attitudes today by respecting each promise we make; no matter how unimportant they might seem.
Doug Smith says “It starts with respect. If you respect the customer as a human being, and truly honour their right to be treated fairly and honestly, everything else is much easier”.
Be fast and more energetic.
Please people of Rwanda; let’s learn to be efficient and speedy; not dragging the feet; not wasting time on unnecessary issues.
I find it especially sickening when I see how sometimes people walk and take their whole time in doing certain things.
Pay attention to cleanliness and neatness.
If for instance, you look shabby at your workplace or if your desk looks dirty or unorganized, this unfortunately tells the customer that you do not care that much about yourself, your office or about the customer.
This negative non verbal attitude, gives your customers a legitimate reason for believing that the service you are providing shows the same lack of concern and this unfortunately sends a poor signal to them.
Let’s recognize that customer service is not easy and it requires utmost skill, tact, diplomacy and positive attitude in order to succeed in dealing with customers.
Changing people’s behavior is a hard work because every change has to be a personal decision.
David Ambrose says that “If you have the will to win, you have achieved half your success; if you don’t; you have achieved half your failure”.
Decide today to adopt positive attitudes and you will be able to strengthen your attitude and create a winning situation for the client and your organization.
William James, a psychologist says that “the greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitude of mind”.Our little daily attitudes have a long way impact on the image of this country.
The author is a customer service consultant working in Rwanda