Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The art of getting good service

When was the last time you walked into a department store and stood at the counter waiting to be waited on? Two sales associates were in clear view, chatting away about their personal lives. Trying to be patient you stood quietly waiting for them to notice you and offer you a helping hand. After a while, you started to think, “Do they see me, or are they still on break?”  “What’s going on there?”  Later, you get annoyed in this situation; will you start off on the right foot with the person who is serving you?

It depends! How you initially approach service providers influences the entire interaction as its outcome. Don’t let your time pressures or frustrations run away with you. You want to give the message to the service people that you view them as allies rather than obstacles. Even if you greet the sales person and ask for help, there may be times when the people are simply having a bad day, or it might be more complex, so if you stand in their shoes your interaction will be more effective.

One of the biggest mistakes customers make is expecting the service provider to be a mind reader. Making clear requests saves you time and lessens the service person’s frustration so ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT and be specific with details if applicable. If you need help in solving a problem, utilize the resources of service person by asking:
  • “What do you recommend?”
  • “Do you have any suggestions?”
  • “What would you do if you were in my situation?”
  • “What’s a good next step?”

On those occasions when you are dealing with someone who is obviously in a bad mood, try defusing the situation by recognizing her feelings and saying:
  •  “You seem like you’re having a bad day today.”
  •  “This situation must be tough for you.”
  •  “You’re doing a great job; I know this is a difficult situation.”

There are some major don’t that you should never do if you want to get great service:
  • Don’t threat to sue as a tactic.
  • Don’t yell, scream, or shout.
  • Don’t use foul language.
  • Don’t threaten physical harm.
  • Don’t claim you know the owner of the company (when you don’t) and say you will be speaking to him or her about this incident.

Certain situations provide more fertile ground for conflict than others for example in restaurants. Since 90’s, everyone seems to be on a diet or food program. Phrases that we rarely used a few years ago now dominate our daily conversations. Some of our personal favorites include:-
  • No butter or oil.
  • On the side.
  • Steamed not fried.

In these situations, where you need to make a change, the best way to approach your wait person is by stating pleasantly:-
  • “Excuse me, but right now I am not eating any butter. Could you please ask the chef not to put it on the vegetables?”

This statement is clear but no demanding way to enlist the support of the waiter. Definitely don’t state your preferences as a demand by saying:
  •  “I don’t eat butter! Tell the chef to leave it of the vegetables!”

When you are in a spot of making a complaint, you may have an overwhelming urge to speak. Don’t. Learning to live with silence will pay off. The person serving you whether it is hotel, airport, or retail store will feel more compelled to respond if you are patient and not in bad mood. This is the point when he is more likely to offer a suggestion, alternative, or run screaming in horror looking for his manager. If he does the later, you need to move your complaint up the ladder.

If you have gone as far as you go with the person helping you, ask for a supervisor or a manager. Don’t put the person on the defensive by saying:-
  •   “You are obviously not the right person to take care of this situation let me speak to someone higher up!”

A better approach will be to say:-
  •  “I appreciate everything you have done, but I want to speak with a supervisor so that I can move this situation forward.”

Be prepared. If the person you are dealing with has a bad attitude, the supervisor, or manager may be the same because the manager sets the departmental tone. Just be sure to express yourself in style, or as one of my friends says: “Standup for yourself in an elegant way.”

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