Customer Un-Service

I’ve spent a few days trying to figure out how to structure this post, so as not to come across too scatter-brained. Well, I had an encounter today that helped me put things in order. It also helped me zero in on what I want to cover. Today, we made a hotel reservation with our favorite chain, ChoiceHotel. We would only be able to stay for a few hours but felt it was worth it. Off to the hotel we went.

I walked to the front desk and was greeted by a pleasant lady behind the counter. I told her I needed to check in. Her response was, “You do know it’s kinda early? I mean, check-in isn’t until 3” (it was about 9am CST) Ok, now I just re-read what I wrote and I don’t see anything that mentions time… because I didn’t. If the lady at the 800# for reservations said there wasn’t a room available, we would’ve gone elsewhere. I paused and looked at the lady with a “Do I look like I’m concerned with the time right now?” look. She quickly got the hint.

The clerk (I hate that I can’t remember her name) wound up being, actually, quite nice. Her comment was unsolicited, highly irrelevant and even moreso unprofessional. Either the room is available or it’s not, right?  Plus, with other guests in line, waiting to check-in also, is this really how you want to be remembered. I don’t think her goal was to make me feel uncomfortable, but if I wasn’t the super- exhausted me, then I probably would have left and came back at 3:30… just in case.

The Lesson in this scenario, which is 100% true, is that, you don’t treat people just any way you want. I don’t know if she speaks to all of the customers that way, or if I was just super-special, but the whole scene was awkward, for a brief moment.

This information is for the newbie employee, 14 year-old, starting their 1st day in the workplace and for the senior customer service reps. First things first, if you get up “on the wrong side of the bed”, realize that for what it is, a not-so-great-mood. Trust me, I understand that every day is not going to be a fabulous day. I also understand that some people are more comfortable with being in a funky mood, for whatever reason. In either case, if you have to deal with people, you have to deal with yourself first.

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Here are a few practices you can do to pick yourself and your mood up. Look in the mirror and say three times, “I love you (your name)”. Each time you say it, make your smile bigger and bigger. After the third time, give yourself a little wink and a “You go boy/ girl”. You are the bestest. If you can’t tell yourself this, why should anybody else? Don’t wait for your manager or someone else to tell you how great you are. You should be giving yourself a mental hi-five and an “at-a-boy/girl” at every given opportunity. I feel this helps motivate me to get more done. Let’s face it, we all love congrats from time to time, right?

Another thing to do is, on your ride, walk to work, the doctor’s office, etc., put on some tunes that you love to sing, or hum, along with. This helps get your mental and emotional juices flowing. There’s nothing like an old school Hip Hop or R&B beat to get me pumped and ready to deal with whatever is coming my way. Yep, I’m that crazy lady waving my arms and holding an imaginary mic, in the car next to you, while I’m belting out an old Beastie Boys tune (Brass Monkey, being my favorite. RIP Adam Yauch).

excited pic

Lastly, find a quote, or make one up yourself, that will help you deal with a stressful situation at the time. Mine is “and this, too, shall pass.” Customers aren’t always the easiest to deal with. Couple a difficult customer with a manager who is having a bad day, and you’re probably two seconds from clocking out, or clocking one of them. But if you’re having a rough day, too, well… that’s a recipe for disaster!

The only person in this equation you can control, is you. When I was an out of control hot-head, my mother used to say, “Kill ’em with kindness.” It wasn’t until my mid 20-s, that I truly understood what that meant. Control you, let them know they cannot bring you down on their level of unhappiness, and that you have control of the situation. You can’t please everybody, but you can always keep yourself on top!

The take away lesson here is that, if you don’t get a good start when your day begins, it’s more than likely going to go downhill. Look at it this way, when you start a new class in school, you start with 100%, right? Your class participation, homework and tests determine your end-of-term grade. Look at each day as a separate term. Don’t bring yesterday’s drama and madness to today, only the lessons learned. Start each day fresh and brand-new. Every day won’t be all sunshine and roses, but if you start most of them on the right “side of the bed”, the cloudy days will come further apart.

You have to be at the top of your game in order to deliver that superior customer service your patrons deserve. Let’s face it, they could’ve gone anywhere, but chose you. Give them the best you there is, providing GREAT customer service!


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