How often do you get mad about the away someone or some companies serve you?
It’s easy to complain about the lack of a smile, a “good morning” or any kind of small and tinny attitudes that can make all the difference!
The truth is that often we also forget to do it to the people who serve us.
The more and more we work with retail we get this feed-back from the people on the field that customers are getting harder and harder to connect. Why? I don’t have the answer but I know what we feel in thousands of observations and surveys we perform.
Excellent service is hard to get but excellent customers is also very hard! Maybe it’s time to look at the customer also, in this case all of us.
Ask yourself the question: do I smile when I need to be served? Do I kindly greet people when I go into any place or do a phone call? Do I recognize loud and clear those who serve me in a great way?
Learn to be a better customer is as much important as learning to provide excellent service.
A couple of weeks ago, flying to Europe, there was this man, in business class, about 60 years old next to me. As I took my place on the plane I kindly greet him with a good morning. I got no answer, no smile, nothing back. I didn’t get mad. Sometimes we’re so concentrated on our thoughts that we don’t realize people around us. Soon, as usual, the cabin attendant, with a very professional and Smerve® (smile and serve) attitude came to greet gold passengers (depending on the number of miles) which was the case of this man (I won’t call him gentleman). In a rude way, he asked her to stop talking since he knew already he was a gold passenger. Again, I questioned myself about the way this customer would, or not, affect the way the flight supervisor would behave! As a great professional she was, she diplomatically answered something like “of course Sir!”
– Before the meal bring me a tonic gin – he said with no “please” word in the beginning, middle or end of his sentence and without looking at her
– Off course Sir. We are coming right away with the aperitif drinks – she answered without losing one single point of kindness and professionalism.
At his point, I started to get mad with this man, that as far as I was able to understand was a business man, and this is scary! How does he treat the people who work with him, serving him? How does he serve others? Is he convinced that he was born to be served? Honestly the will of a kind of revenge or justice started to stuck on me!
We got to the point of choosing the meal. As the man was in row 2, he was not the first to choose and specially because customers in row one were also gold passengers. There was this menu with two choices, fish or pasta. Arriving to his turn, they ran out of fish, and so again with high professionalism, the cabin assistant kindly told him that she was sorry but fish was over. If the first time he spoke was rude, this time was even worst.
– What? No, thank you – he said.
– I am sorry. Actually, the other passengers are also gold and they all chose fish. So, you don’t want your meal Sir? – she asked
– No. Bring me a glass of wine – he said, again without even looking at her.
– Sir, I don’t know if you’re aware but you can reserve your meal 24 hours before the plane and this way, this won’t happen again – she replied trying to get a tough customer in the right track.
– What? But now? – he asked again with a sever face and voice tone
– No, not now Sir, but 24 hours will be enough. Knowing this you can avoid….
– Forget!! If it’s not now, it’s useless! – he replied not letting her finish what she was trying to say and as if she was the one person he chose to fight all his problems that day.
– Of course, Sir. Anyway, I just want you to know that this possibility exists
– Ok, ok, bring me the pasta!
I was astonished!
The meal came, he drank his gin, he got his meal with red wine and didn’t touch the pasta.
– You didn’t like it Sir – she asked
– Of course not! – mad with her or the pasta, we don’t know.
– Again, I am sorry Sir. May I bring some coffee or tea or another drink – she said with absolutely no answer, no “thank you”, no words no eye contact from him.
– Bring me water with gas and a whisky. – again, in a bossy way!
– Of Course, Sir.
The whisky came, with the small airplane bottle closed, and the water with gas. I wish I could show you his face as if he was looking to the most incompetent person in the whole world.
Sensitive to his reaction she waited to understand what was wrong this time, I believe.
He picked up the bottle and while moving his head in a “no” movement he rudely opened the whisky. Quickly she said something like “Oh Sir, you want me to mix it for you?”. There was no hope for this man but there’s a world of opportunities for this lady!
In any moment, she lost the posture of someone who is a top service professional, even if the person in front of her didn’t deserve any kind of kindness. There’s the secret, I believe. She is Top Service no matter what, he is not!
As I mentioned before there was this will I was getting inside of sending a message to this person sitting next to me and probably believing he was the king of the world.
I spent some time thinking about what to do and one thing I was sure. I wanted this Woman to get recognized for her effort and I wanted this man to hear he doesn’t know how to be a customer.
When she came to pick up the cups and glasses I asked her name and I congratulated her for her top service attitude, encouraging her to keep on being like that no matter what.
– Either you are or you are not a top service person. Being Top Service means that your attitude is the same when you’re the one who serves or the one who gets served. You are a Top Service person, Congratulations – that’s what I said loud and clear, while I realized she was smiling with a feeling of justice and he was looking on the corner of the eye wondering who knows what!
And we go back to the beginning. Are you a good customer?
Want better service? Try being a better customer please, for a better world!
Carla Carvalho Dias