This is one of the days that I don’t know exactly what to write about…not because I’m not inspired but rather because I have had so many different customer experiences this week that I do not know which ones to share with you.
Believe me dear readers, there are really days you think the service people you meet do not know exactly why they woke up to be in their offices or shops. Or should I rather say, they do not know exactly what is expected of them.
But thank God, this week I also met very charming and professional service people who have proven once more that customer service is simply an Attitude and not necessary a Skill.
For the whole week, I went to approximately twenty different service providers to present “The Service Magazine” that will be launched very soon. I was at ministries, government agencies, private businesses, big and small organizations.
After this week experience; I felt like writing again yet another book on Customer Service.
I really think that we need to involve our staffs in the awareness campaign on Customer Service. We need to engage them and empower them. We simply need to invest in them so that they will know exactly how they are supposed to behave towards customers.
I wish I could individually talk to these service people I met but as it is impossible, I will kindly ask you to share this article with your team members.
Let them know that the very small positive or negative behavior they adopt towards customers could go a long way either in improving or destroying your company’s image.
Customer service is most often about Attitudes. Below are some of those Attitudes that really bothered me this week:
1. Please leave your personal problems at home.
In one of the offices I went to, I had the impression that the woman has had the whole world fall on her head. Her face was so sad, unappealing, unattractive etc…She was contagious with her pale face.
If we want to offer good services, we should be able to separate our personal lives to our professional lives. It is not the fault of the customer if your husband or wife is worrying you at home.
Please leave those personal issues at the gate before you start your days. Customers should not be responsible for your personal mood. If they are paying for a service, they deserve the very best.
2. Please greet every customer with a smile and a cheerful disposition.
A smile costs you nothing but it has such a powerful effect on people you meet. I remember this gentleman I met at the Kigali Mayor’s Office; he was so cheerful and happy that I straight away knew that he was happy doing his job.
The good thing about Smiles is that they are contagious. If you smile first, the customer will generally return the smile. Mother Teresa of Calcutta says that “Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”
3. Please avoid your personal conversations in front of the customer
In one of the companies I went to; I had to wait for 7mn for the lady to finish her phone call. Even though I couldn’t understand exactly what she was talking about; from the tone of the conversation, I guessed she was talking about the valentine day program with her boy friend.
It is simply not professional to talk about your personal non-urgent issues on the phone while the customer is waiting and listening.
4. Please be fast and do not drag your feet
As for this one, I nearly felt like pushing people this week. It just seemed like people have the whole day for themselves.
I have the impression that “Time is Money” is not meant for Rwanda. This issue on service speed is so crucial that I will write solely on it in a future article.
5. Please respect the promises you make
Many of the people I met this week promised to get back with me with an appointment but there were just few people who respected that promise.
It seems like giving promises and not fulfilling them is a normal thing. If you say you are going to return a call, please do it. If there is an issue that has not yet been resolved, still call the customer to let him know that you are still working on it.
It will help him to know that he is not being ignored and that you are still remembering your promise.
6. Please be courteous
Courtesy to others is a sign of respect. It shows you have been well educated at home and that you have good manners.
There is nothing wrong is saying “I’m sorry” or “Please” or “Thank you” or “You are welcome” or “have a good day”. Greet people who walk into your office. Do not just sit there and stare at them.
I have often greeted people I meet and all I read in their eyes is “why are you greeting me? Do we know each other?” Greeting is a basic thing that should not be thought to adults. Learn to be polite.
7. Rephrase the customer’s needs to be sure you have understood him
In one of the office, the lady went and did exactly the contrary of my request. She never took time to repeat my demand. Repeating customers’ request shows that you have understood clearly their demand.
It shows that you are listening and want to help. If you can not hear the person or did not understand something, ask the customer: “Will you please repeat that for me?” Do not make assumptions. It is better to repeat than to waste your time and your customer’s time in doing something completely different.
Customer service is all about attitudes. Adopt positive attitudes today and this will have an impact on your personal and professional lives. Winston Churchill says that “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”