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A Call For Customer Service

May 25, 2008
Customer service in the UK can often leave a lot to be desired. Compared to our transatlantic counterparts the levels of service that you receive in a restaurant are pitiful. Having lived in the US and Canada for a number of years I have been spoilt when it comes to customer service and am constantly frustrated by people in the service industry in the UK that get orders wrong, are surly and deliver sub standard food.

I sometimes find that these people are unfriendly and unhelpful and it is sometimes slightly embarrassing especially when I have friends from over the pond visit and want to show them my great country. Worst of all it is difficult to argue my corner when people from America and Canada pass comment about it. The only defence I have is that the Americans undoubtedly take it too far. They definitely overdo the customer service but regardless of that there is definitely a middle ground. So how can you ensure that the levels of customer service in your company are up to scratch and how can improve the levels of customer service that your team offer?

Courtesy

Manners, as they say, cost nothing and making sure that you use the manners that your mother taught you with the customers that you interact with is a vital part of customer service. We all know the right manners but ensuring that they are implemented is something that can often be overlooked. Often it is only a case of being reminded how important it is to use good manners and having it fresh in your mind. The simple act of using good manners has a substantial effect on the level of satisfaction that your customers experience.

Indeed good manners can cover all manner of sins. So being sure to impart good common manners can be vitally important and the most important thing to recognise is that it is also very easy. Often a simple please or a thank you can make all the difference and customers vote with their feet. A good atmosphere is very important and often goes above quality in a customers list of importance.

Caring

Alright this one sounds like a wishy washy load of American rubbish but showing that you care about your customers is very important. This does not mean that you need to give them a hug or tell them that you love them but it does mean that you need to let them know that you care about their opinion. It is very much about showing your customers that they are important to you by providing a good quality service and going above and beyond expectations to keep your customers happy. A prime example might be offering a complementary side dish. Gestures like these can be extremely pleasing for the customer and can result in repeat business.

Willingness to serve

This is one of the most significant of the shortfalls of british waiting staff. It is important that staff demonstrate that they are willing to serve people and that they do not resent doing so. It does not mean that you have to go over the top but customers know whether or not the member of staff wants to be doing what they are doing and it cannot be faked. If they are hating every minute of their job then this will have a detrimental effect on the customers experience and can make the customer feel guilty which is not likely to result in repeat business.
About the Author
Shaun Parker is an expert on sales training and customer service training. He shares his experience to help you.
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