Have you ever shopped at a place where the service was horrible? Maybe you were greeted with a grunt or a facial expression of indifference, or treated at if your visit was an interruption to a ‘juicy’ conversation, and your service wasn’t in direct relation to someone’s salary. We’re on our way to a bright message here, so take a light stroll with me, ok? Thanks.
I’ve experienced both excellent and paltry service in quite a few countries; some of the former in small businesses and some of the latter in big fancy places.
The quality of your customer service doesn’t necessarily relate to where you’re from, what school you went to, or the nature and scope of your business.
It does, however, relate to your degree of …
enthusiasm for what you do and genuine CARE for whom you serve.
Unfortunately, many people are already stressed by the time they reach the shop, office, factory, job-site or organisation. Even as an entrepreneur, I’m not always at my best every single day without fail. We’re living, breathing beings navigating a journey in a busy world – not robots designed for drone-like programmed repetition (and even those have glitches.)
For today’s post, I’ll start right here – in ‘Bim,’ in terms of customer service and the various expressions of it.
Joy in Business & good Customer Service
- almost every small community in Barbados has a small shop in it. The setting is typically informal and service might be a l’il brisk and straight to the point at first until you become a frequent shopper. Many elderly shop owners are known for sharing firm words of sound advice to little ones who come to buy snacks on the way to school and are pretty much ‘on call’ anytime someone walks through door.
Gentle reminder: Running a shop from an adjoining home is no sweet walk in the park; it’s time-consuming and requires consistent effort and attention. 12 hours (non-stop) shifts are pretty much standard, so when we – the customers consider that, our expectation lightens – and the quality of service matters a little less once the delivery of the purchase is punctual and on point.
But, what may work in a close-knit community or beachside stall, may not ‘fly’ so well at a 5star hotel or luxury boutique.
Leading with compassion, whether as a service provider, salesperson, customer or client reminds us that people are more than their jobs or cash.
Still, let’s face it – there are times when customer service is so horrible, that you’re compelled to either: 1) not make the purchase or commission the service 2) share a private warning to your relatives and friends, to avoid that particular venue at all costs or 3) seek another option
Before anyone starts cheering or having a flashback to an encounter resembling this, let’s focus on the bright side and remember that stress is a real and active threat (and punk) worldwide. Countless people are going and growing through huge challenges outside of business – not everyone has the same level of emotional intelligence, awareness, or patience to breathe beyond struggles in real-time when it comes to showing up and serving well at work.
So what does this mean for our customers and clients?
If you’re having a tough day, are they expected to come behind the counter, dab your watery eyes with their favourite hankie, and spend the greater part of their day sending out e-mails and scheduling social media posts for ya? Not necessarily… (though that wouldn’t be so bad on some days, come to think of it.)
Yet, I remember a particularly unpleasant service experience where the sistren behind the counter at the cafe was so acid and impatient because of the time I showed up (though more than half-hour before their closing time) to get one l’il hot drink. Only seconds before, she had served two (obvious) visitors with a sunshine smile, yet now the expression on her face was like it a piece o’ concrete. My soprano went straight to baritone.
“You having a tough day?” I asked her, actually interested, but bordering on being annoyed that “she had the nerve” to be so brisk – plus I had a punch card and was then a regular customer. (it wasn’t my best day y’all.)
She paused beside the bubbling machine, breathed out a long sigh of relief and shared that yes – it was a tough day, and when she worked all the way to 11 o’clock (p.m) it meant she might miss the bus home. Plus she still had a walk to get to her house…
…and that encounter, though quite a while ago, taught me a valuable lesson that still resonates today…
you never know what someone else is going through…
so at the very least, we can lead with care & compassion…
whether as CEO or customer…
while remaining professional and intentional with our business, service & purpose.
In closing (always wanted to say that), is it really necessary to smile like you’re auditioning for a dentistry ad or air stewardess post – every single time a customer calls or walks through the door? Not necessarily, but at the very least, making a point to provide…
a welcoming space and showing genuine interest in how you serve and CARE for whom you’re serving is a good place to start.
It’s also a healthy way of living out your day and creates a meaningful connection with your customers, clients, and community. If this is a present challenge for you, conducting business online offers another way of interacting – through e-mail and webinars. You can draft, read, edit, record and review the delivery of your message, quality of your listening while becoming honestly acquainted with how your…
WORDS & TONE matter
Starting today, let’s look at customer service through the eyes of CARE – and jussst in case – for those particularly tough times – pack a portion of PATIENCE in your pocket. That always comes in handy.
And today’s good customer service mentions of appreciation are: NovelTeas TeaHouse & Bistro , Archipelago – The Boutique, The Bascombe Family of “Bascombe’s Variety,” ‘Bish‘ (Wildey) and Carol (St.John.)
Have a light rest of the day, and thanks for reading!