It’s probably safe to say that at some point in your life, you have been the recipient of less than stellar customer service. It’s also probably safe to say that if you have worked in the customer service industry for any period of time, there was at least one time when you were not 100% on your game, and your service level slipped. C’mon, you can admit it (just don’t let it be a habit!).
As the title of this post suggests, I think that as consumers, we have a big impact on the kind of service we receive.
I think it helps to think of the person on the other side of the counter or the telephone as a person. Despite what we may be thinking when they tell us something we don’t want to hear, they are still a person with feelings, fears, emotions, a family, possibly pets, a life outside of work… not to mention their own set of personal issues they may be dealing with.
I know a very popular sentiment (especially in the amusement park business) is that when we are working with the public, we should leave our own problems at home… forget about them while at work because ultimately, that guest in front of you just wants their food when it’s hot, and they aren’t concerned with the fact that your hamster got stuck in the Habitrail this morning.
While I do believe our guests deserve our best, I don’t know how realistic it is for most people to flip a switch and NOT think about what they have to deal with (or are looking forward to) when they get home.
Where I think we sometimes go wrong as consumers is that we get stuck with the labels associated with doing business. We are customers or guests, and they are employees, staff, or the help. It’s almost as if from the get-go we are setting up an adversarial relationship. I know people who believe that people in customer service roles are essentially lower life forms, and he/she treats them accordingly. What do you think his/her view of modern customer service is? Yep, bottom of the barrel.
When I talk to people about how THEY provide service, most say things like, “I love helping people who are nice. I would bend over backwards for them. But start yelling at me, you won’t get anything!”
With this is mind, here is what I would suggest. Be nice to people. Notice I didn’t say “employees” or “staff”, but people. Dare I say treat them the way you would want to be treated?
What are your thoughts?
Originally posted January 2, 2010
Distinguished author, speaker, and industry veteran Matt Heller can sum up what he does in three simple words: Helping Leaders Lead. Matt’s firm, Performance Optimist Consulting, has worked with some of the largest attraction operators in the United States, including Six Flags, Cedar Fair, Universal Studios, Apex Parks Group, and Herschend Family Entertainment, along with countless other parks, zoos, museums, and aquariums. Matt focuses on leadership development, guest service training, eliminating employee burnout, and reducing turnover.