Because You Never Know
In the hospitality and tourism industry, we’re always advocating the need to provide stellar customer service—even when we get a customer who is unpleasant and/or rude. It’s easier to provide good customer service when the buyers of our services are nice and friendly, but more of a challenge when they are difficult, snotty, rude or otherwise generally unpleasant.
As consumers we have all probably come across a service provider or sales person who takes a little extra time, who has excellent listening skills and who makes us feel it is his/her pleasure to have us as their customers. We’ve also most likely come into contact once or twice with a service provider or sales person who violates just about every effective customer service credo around. Politics, the economy and personal issues all have an effect on the level and quality of customer service provided.
So here’s the caution for anyone and every one who provides service to others: be sure to always—even on the days it is hard and you don’t feel like it—to do all that you can to provide top notch service and attention to your customers. This is especially important because you never know to whom the person you are currently serving is connected. And just as we have all learned from the Six Degrees of Separation stories, everybody knows somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody, etc. You could learn at a later time that the person you just treated royally (good or bad) may be connected to someone else who either has in the past or will in the future need you to provide service to him/her.
I was reminded of this fact several weeks ago when dealing with a new member of International CHRIE. The member needed some assistance and was told by another long time member to contact me, “because Kathy will be able to help you even if the problem is complicated and she even answers emails sometimes that I send her at 1:00 a.m. East coast time.” It certainly was a lot easier for me to interact with this new member, because of the positive connection we both have to another member.
It’s also a lot harder to try to interact with customers when the perception is negative. I’ve had members call me with a question or a problem and tell me that they know or don’t think I can help them because they are friends with John Doe (I’m not crazy enough to use a real member’s name). and he was not happy with the way something was handled. It takes extra effort and attention to turn that interaction into a positive experience, because the other person came into the interaction with a negative perception.
We all hope that when a customer utters the phrase, “Your reputation precedes you” that the person is being complimentary. Trying to always provide stellar service should be the benchmark we all strive for because you never know who else your customer knows.