Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Smile - It's Not Hard!

These columns have seen several articles about customer service from me.  They are all based on observations and an irritation stemming from years of being responsible for delivering a good service.
In a tea room/cafe the other day I witnessed a lack of awareness that had me wondering all day. The place was presentable, pleasant and clean. The food was good and the tea was spot on. I was received at the counter by a new boy. He was shadowed by the senior person there, presumably the owner. There were two others out front and it was the start of a busy lunchtime in a seaside town.
Putting myself in the role of the owner, I would have thought the following points would have been an obvious clear cut consideration:
Let’s have our new boy here 20 minutes early today to show him the ropes. That way, he can be shown how we like to present the trays of comestibles to the customer.  He can be shown also how the kitchen needs the order written down,  and the key points “Is it toasted or simply a sandwich?” taught and discussed to give meaning.
He can be taught what to clean with what, and when. Most importantly he can be taught and shown how to deal with people in a friendly and helpful way at the same time encouraging them to buy more and making sure they feel welcome and served.
All this is only some of the point. The fundamental underlying point is that the manager or owner obviously assumed the lad would pick it up, or would have enough savvy to get most of it right and somehow would not need showing. Poor management, lack of forethought and basic understanding writ large on the uncertain, unconfident, halting inadequate service offered as a sample of the worth of this cafe.
Is your business represented well by your employees? Do they care about giving a good service? Don’t assume it is adequate because no one has complained – poor service is rife wherever you go and the common standard will excite feelings of frustration that will not usually give rise to expressions of anger.
Take a second look. Bob Shepherd Associates can give you an external perspective on customer service and can make useful suggestions. You will be amazed how the little things multiply the sales. 

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