Nothing thrills me more than engaging with a Customer Service Representative that is truly in the right place. You know them, they are the ones who never lose their smile no matter the hours and actually mean it, really mean it, when they ask what they can do for you. They are the ones who move with purpose, never use a negative word, stay on task when needed even if their shift ended moments ago, and are listening. I am not referring to the ones who eagerly impress you with the fact that they can write their names upside down on the paper covering your table while talking at the same time, well scripted of course, “Hi my name is….have you been here before…” then dropping off a glass of water with ice in it when you ask for one without.
When you do love your job in customer service, its a win-win situation for yourself, for the client and ultimately for the business. That success can only bring on bigger and better things for everyone. Customer satisfaction abounds, co-workers get along, the rhythm flows and sales grow. Simple, right? Well, actually, its not really as simple as it sounds. Is everyone on your team on the same page? Do you know what is happening out there on the floor? Are you looking for and do you recognize those that truly DO love their job and then give back in mutual respect?
In the city where I mainly reside, sadly we have become a society of less-than-eager beavers who believe the act of service is all about the representative as opposed to the customer. We have large scale malls, and we have high-end clothing stores that sell by name and prestige and will always be busy for that reason. But still, does it excuse this rather interesting story?…..my niece wanted to try on a new jacket that she found displayed on a mannequin. She was told in exasperation, by the manager no less, that she had “absolutely picked the worst day of the year to come in” and said they were doing inventory. She was advised she would be better just to order online (leave!). This should astound you, but it is more common than you think. My niece queried as to the opportunity to actually try it on first, and was met with, you guessed it, a sigh. But, I digress, and that topic is for another day.
Now consider Ben, this is HIS story. Ben works for one of the very large providers of internet, cable tv and cellular phone services, at the retail level for phones and packages etc. I recently went into his particular store wanting ask about an upgrade on two of the phones on my account, as well as clarification on some matters on my contract which was ending soon. Needless to say I felt like I had won the lottery. Ben was a very smiling, knowledgable, happy-to-help young man who took the time to completely explain everything and get me the best possible solution (in my favour) in order for me to remain as a client. Not only did he sit patiently for almost an hour and set up the new phone/service for me, but explained things I didn't know that he thought would be helpful. But that is not the reason for my story. At the end, when I asked about something else I might get him to do on my setup for me (a task not within his role), still smiling and friendly, he told me his shift was actually over about 45 minutes ago. The important thing? When I had walked in earlier he stepped forward graciously with a smile and asked what he could do for me. He would've had only five or ten minutes left on his shift and there were two others on the floor. Furthermore, when I explained what I needed it was clear this was a bit of a process yet he did neither flinch nor excuse himself but took charge and began to patiently work with me as long as it took. THAT ladies and gentlemen is what I’m talking about!
I asked for his manager’s name or card so I could send an email to him regarding Ben’s service. It is also very important to mention that if we do indeed come across this type of situation how are we to ensure that is the level we will receive, never mind expect? By actively promoting it and letting others know when something exceptional happens. This young man did not know the outcome of his actions, he was simply doing his job, one he truly loves. But I assure you, he will be made mention. Of course, the end result is I will continue with this service provider.
Too often we only give criticism when we are upset by the service we receive yet forget to praise when someone goes above and beyond. Don’t forget. Be a good customer. But be a good Shopkeeper too. Learn to identify, be on the floor, don't just notice but acknowledge.
Now let’s return to my niece who, by the way, did NOT buy the jacket. She also works in retail, part time while she is a university student in Toronto, and loves her job working with clients to make them look their best. When there is an internal contest for sales she usually wins. Why? She treats every customer the same, with respect. And they trust her. Working late she does not try to lock up the doors before actual closing time and always arrives ready before her shift begins. There is no plastic smile. When she does finish school, no matter where her career takes her I know she will succeed. She has ‘the right stuff’, that which we all need more of. Because, as I said, it’s a win-win for everybody.