Saturday, July 14, 2012

Customer Service Truths

**** Guest blog by my cousin, Briana, while I'm on vacation ****
Working in Customer Service for the last 8 years has definitely taught me a few things about how to interact with people, on a personal level and how I interact with customers. Based on my lifetime…well, long time knowledge anyway, of being in a customer service field, there are some basic truths that I have come to realize. So here they are, in no way listed in value by importance or dividing positive and negative categories.
*Note: My experience mostly comes in the form of working at a high end gym in Downtown Dallas, so some things mentioned in this list might only pertain to this field, but they can be modified.*
1. A smile goes a long way.
2. Having a great memory helps.
3. Having regulars can be a good thing….and a terrible thing.
-Seeing the same faces over again helps to remember who they are, what locker they like, etc. But seeing the people you cannot stand EVERY DAY? That can be like pieces of your soul dying a little more each day.
4. The customer is NOT always right.
-Maybe in the 1950’s when people didn’t feel like they were entitled to everything, this was a good saying. But customer service has changed over the years and the people doing the servicing are not doormats.
5. No one has the right to belittle you or publicly humiliate you.
-I’ve had people call me incompetent, an idiot, terrible at my job, ridiculed for looking the way I do [someone called me fat], and basically just all around a terrible human being. Just because of little. Tiny. Thing. No one deserves that. Please, never treat anyone like this. You will make them cry.
6. Sometimes the perks are worth keeping the job.
-Free gym membership? Yes, please. [Symbol]
7. There’s not enough coffee in the world to prepare you for the 4:30am shift after a night of drinking.
-Nuff said.
8. Being on the bottom of the totem pole is not a bad thing.
9. Some of the people on the top of the totem pole have no CLUE wtf is going on.
10. You don’t always have to smile to make people feel welcome.
11. You can’t be cheerful 100% of the time for 100% of the days you’re working.
-Some days it will be hard to muster even for your favorite people. It’s okay. You’re human; people [for the most part] should understand this.
12. You will offend someone, in some form, in some way, without even knowing it.
13. Someone will call your work phone. They will want something that has nothing to do with your job. And they’ll get angry when you can’t help them.
-And more than likely you won’t be able to hear them on the phone either. Always happens.
14. There’s not enough coffee in the world to prepare you for the 430am shift after a night of drinking.
-Did I mention this one? I did? Okay, moving on..
15. Going to work can be awesome, depending on the people you work with.
16. Even when someone is berating you for being a moron, all you can do is smile and wait until they leave.
-Fighting back at them is only going to cause an even bigger scene. Smile and nod and then walk away if they continue calling you names. [See number 5 and 25 for reference.]
17. Calling someone names under your breath is fine, until the day someone hears you.
18. Don’t complain about your boss while you’re at work. Cause they’ll always be right around the corner…
-Lurking around the corner, when you least expect it. And of course, you’re usually doing something you’re not supposed to…such as writing blogs =)
19. Make sure to check the schedule if you have abnormal hours. Try to avoid that 5am phone call when you didn’t get to bed until 2am.
20. There’s not enough coffee in the world to prepare you for the 430am shift after a night of drinking.
-This bears repeating after number 19.
21. You WILL have to work with a-holes. Whether in front of the counter or behind.
-Accept it. It’s a fact of life.
22. There will be people you absolutely love to work with.
-And they will make coming to work worth all the other BS you have to put up with.
23. You WILL cry when these people leave.
24. You’ll dance for joy when the a-holes leave.
25. Stand up for yourself; have a backbone.
-Eleanor Roosevelt had it right; “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
-Stand up for yourself against your boss, co-worker, customer, etc. Don’t be a raving lunatic but don’t be a doormat either.
--And I think the overwhelming thing I’ve learned in all my years is something that goes ALLLLLL the way back to Kindergarten: Treat people the way you want to be treated. The people coming into a restaurant, fitness center, coffee place or whatnot could learn to do this. Overall, most people are good, nice and awesome people. Let’s keep it that way and I think the world would be just a little bit better. That’s my take at least.

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