Are you being served?

“In this day and age,” wrote my brother on his blog yesterday, “we have developed an entitlement mentality. In our not very humble opinions, everyone is here to SERVE us – and like medieval tyrant kings we can treat them however we want.”

One way we can transform culture is by modelling to others how to be a great customer.  Yes, the person on the other side of the counter or the other end of the phone is offering you a service, and is presumably attempting to keep your business in the face of a slew of other available options, but he or she is also a precious and beloved child of God.  Are you treating him/her that way?

My brother listed several good ways of being a good customer, including not expecting miracles, and remembering to say thank you and commend the good work to their manager more quickly than you would complain.

I’d like to add to that the suggestion that you act as if they are someone you want to talk to/e-mail/deal with.

We get lots of marketing phone calls to our office, and telesales staff are all well-trained to make you feel as if they are delighted to have the opportunity to call you, so they almost always ask ‘How are you today?’ or similar.  I respond, ‘I’m fine, thanks, how are you?’ and maybe even say something more personal like ‘Loving this weather, is it sunny where you are, too?’ or whatever.

It completely floors them.  This is clearly the first time in their day someone has actually acted as if it were a normal conversation. They relax and, although they still try to sell me something I neither want nor need, we have a pleasant conversation about it.

Yes, it takes a couple more minutes, and yes, it makes me feel worse rejecting their offer when I have connected with them as a person, but I think it’s worth it for the sake of honouring them for just a couple of minutes in the day.

I’ve made some good friendships over email simply by asking genuinely how people are, how their weekend was etc, and I know that when I receive messages with a friendly word or two it really brightens my day.

If you frequently get poor service, or are exasperated by telesales, it is worth remembering that people very quickly pick up on body language, tone of voice and the expectations you are subconsciously projecting.  It may be that you actually do deserve the poor responses you’re getting, after all…

Read Peter’s post for more ideas on what constitutes a good customer, and let’s start changing the world, one encounter at a time.

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