It’s strange that I mention tolerate since that is exactly what most of us have been doing when we are on the receiving-end of many service businesses. We wait in long lines because the business didn’t schedule enough staff to work the cash registers. We search down aisle after aisle to find an employee so we can ask where something is or if they have a particular product in store. This has become the norm and worst of all we have been willing to accept it.
Our young workforce is not trained in the nuances of customer service, let alone in the simple, courteous & professional terms that should be used during a conversation between a customer and store employee. Our conversations have been reduced to short, cutesy phrases that may be suited for friends at a party but not in a business setting. Here are a few examples:
- “No Problem”
- “How Are You Guys Today”?
What if a restaurant waiter said this to a table of women? I don’t think that if your mom was out to lunch with a few of her friends she would like to be called a guy! There is never a reason to refer to a person’s gender or age.
Too many people that are in the position to “greet” people never actually do that. They may say hi or hello but that is nothing more than an acknowledgement that someone has entered their space. That’s it! We should say “Hello, welcome to ____________”. When you “welcome” someone you are allowing them full access to “your space”, to treat your space as if it was “their space”, their home.
- “You Need To…”
This is not a big change in words but is a big change in attitude and approach to the customer. The customer should never feel that they must jump through hoops just to find, pay for or return a product. If any of these become a burden then they may take their business elsewhere.
- “Are You Finished With That?”
“I’m glad to see you have enjoyed your meal, would you like me to remove your plate”? Or, “That was a great choice you made for your entree, if you are finished may I remove your plate”? These are much better, and more polite, options to use. We never want the guest to feel that they are being rushed to make a buying decision or eating their meal.
- “Let Me Get My Manager”
“I’m sorry that I am not able to fix this issue, or help with this, but please allow me to get assistance from my supervisor. He/she will be able to resolve this right away. Will that be ok”? Isn’t this a much more palatable way of handling an issue that needs another person’s help?
About the Author
A 25+ year industry veteran, and known as “the ops guy” during his tenure at Hilton Hotels, Steve DiGioia has redefined the operational and service standards for multiple food and beverage departments for some of the best names in the industry.
His book “Earn More Tips On Your Very Next Shift…Even If You’re a Bad Waiter” is an easy to follow customer service training method that can be used across all industries, resulting in better customer retention and repeat business for your company.
Remember: Only by making your guests feel special, feel as if THEIR enjoyment is YOUR primary concern, will you create the "WOW" experience we all hope for. All else is not important.
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