A few years ago, I had my cellphone checked. I went to the repairman, handed my phone and as he slid off its back cover, I began explaining what I experienced with it. Almost immediately, the repairman slid the cover back on and cut me off. He told me that it was he who would determine what was wrong with the cellphone, not me.
Naturally, I was taken aback and stared back. Did he just scoff at me? Well, that was uncalled for. But what exactly did I do wrong? My temper went up a notch. I kept my temper in check, though, but not my opinion.
Me: I wasn’t insulting you at all. I was just explaining so you’d know –
Him: It’s because many customers think they know more about the problems than I do.
Me: I was just explaining so you’d know what I experienced. I didn’t say I know what is exactly wrong with it.
To cut it short, he did check my phone; I paid for the repair, and the new charging pin, battery and charger. I was pleasant to him and he appreciated that so he was pleasant to me. And from then on, he treated me with courtesy.
But what was wrong with the picture? Everything.
Was it my job, my responsibility to be pleasant to the one who was supposed to be serving me? Me, who was the paying customer? Moreover, was it his job to react in such a way without provocation? I think he got the meaning of ‘service’ wrong.
Most customers can be easy to deal with (I, for one, can be the most pleasant customer when it’s warranted). However, those in the service industry must understand that it is only when customers see something they think is wrong, or are unsatisfied with the service, that they either comment or complain. Why not? They’re paying for it.
How to Deal with Customers
These are just a number of ways for you to remember to keep customers happy.
Be courteous. That has always been the rule. Employers often remind their employees to be courteous because that’s what will keep the customers coming back.
I don’t mind much if the employees do not greet me a good morning – though that is nice – but I would appreciate courtesy from those serving me. Is that too much to ask? Does it require too much effort? Courtesy includes having my concerns addressed, whether it is a simple question needing an answer or a simple request. Of course, customers need a quick response as well. Better, too, if the employees make the effort themselves to know their customers’ concerns.
Courtesy, too, extends to children and other customers whom you think don’t have much. How you treat them says a lot about how you are and that reflects on the company. Don’t fight with customers. You can always explain, but always be polite.
Watch your words. Courtesy does not equate to tact. Do you instantly offer a calorie-free dish to a customer who is on the heavy side? However you ask politely, that does not make it tactful, unless the customer actually asks for your opinion or suggestions. It is especially important to always think of your words first.
I once was buying something from the market when the vendor asked me what it was I was carrying with me. I told him it was pansit (a noodle dish that has its roots from the Chinese). He then chuckled and asked if I was Visayan because I pronounced it as “pan-seat,” that last syllable sounding like a chair. Many Visayans tend to mispronounce their vowels, mixing up I and E, O and U…I looked him straight in the eye. “No, I’m not Visayan, and even if I were, and so what? And how do you say it, pan-set? Why, how do you spell it?”
I did not mind being mistaken for a Visayan. I was mad because he laughed at Visayans like it made him better than them and because he laughed at me. No customer likes being laughed at, especially to his/her face.
Pay special attention to discretion. Do you and your co-workers talk aloud about other people while customers are around? Aside from wanting the noise down, customers do not necessarily savor listening to other people’s sexual exploits or problems while they are trying to relax.
They especially do not like hearing you laugh at that other customer who just went out because, hey, they are customers, too, and chances are, you’d be laughing at them as well once they get out. Loud gossiping is irritating and laughing at customers is just plain mean, if not irresponsible.
Give them space. Discretion is also needed when following customers around. Don’t follow them everywhere! Give them space. Do you know what it feels like when you’re reading something and someone is right at your back reading over your shoulder? Distracting and irritating, right?
It’s the same way when customers are out buying something. They don’t want you blabbering away about a product every time they pick up something, or asking them over and over about what they want when all they want is for you to stop talking and leave them be. They want to concentrate. They will ask you if they need you. Just stay near enough in case they do want to ask.
And by the way? Customers do not appreciate being “stalked” like you expect them to grab something, shove it in their bag and run away with it. Customers know you are just being careful, but surveillance can be done without over-doing it. Do you really need to be beside them everywhere they go? It’s downright offending and can turn off customers who might opt to go to other stores where they will not be treated like criminals.
Remember that humility is a virtue. Don’t assume, like the repairman I mentioned, that the customer doesn’t know anything. And even if you think he doesn’t, be humble. If not, you just might find yourself without a customer.
It does not need much effort or thinking to follow these tips. Keep them in mind and keep your customers happy. Remember the Golden Rule: The Customer is Always Right…Well, almost always. Let’s just say “Always Treat Your Customers Right.”
Here is one of the many videos on how to deal with customers I found from Kantola.com (DISCLAIMER: I am not endorsing them):
Any comments? Violent reactions? Questions? Suggestions? Feel free to use that comment box below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org 🙂