Stephanie Pearce: Great customer service, golden rule
September 15, 2013
I grew up being taught to treat others how you want to be treated. OK, maybe when it came to my siblings, that rule didn't get used enough. But for the most part, I have tried to always abide by this rule. I really think it applies in the real world and if more people used it, every day would be a little brighter all around.
A while back I was a cashier at a local store. One of the things that drew me to apply there was how happy the cashiers were. They knew my family and me by name and always said hello with a smile as we walked through the door. When I applied there, it seemed like I already knew everyone and that working there would be a great fit for me.
When I first started working there, saying "hello" to every customer was not the easiest thing for me. It felt awkward, but the more I did it, the easier it became and eventually, I would call regular customers by name when they walked through the door. I'd smile and joke with them and my goal was to get even the grumpiest of customers to smile before they left. Most days, I achieved my goal.
Jobs that require the best customer service skills are usually the lowest paying. Most work off tips. I feel like getting a good tip should be earned, but I also feel like the customer always should try to be pleasant, as well. The customer shouldn't be a total jerk and expect the best service ever. These workers should not be degraded while they try to serve the customer. Their jobs are hard enough without having to deal with jerks.
That being said, some of my favorite customers were the grumpy ones. We seemed to get along well. I have a lot of grumpy old men in my family, so I can relate to them without taking it personally most days. Most grumpy customers aren't really grumpy at all and most ended up joking with me before they left.
My favorite waitresses are the ones that with smiles on their faces, take all the hassle from a customer and give it right back. The trick is that they do it in such a way that the person hassling them usually doesn't understand they are giving it back. Either that, or the customer enjoys the banter and wit and they both end up laughing. Hopefully these waitresses get the biggest tips because they sure deserve it.
Even at my job now, I try to give great customer service. I try to make the employees feel valued and get things done for them in a timely manner. I know they work hard and I hope they know that I appreciate that they do.
I think customer service is an extension of the rule "treat others how you want to be treated." I also believe that if you want great customer service, you need to be a great customer.