WHAT sort of customer service do you normally expect?
Just flicking through the not-for-profit Institute of Customer Service’s website, service standards are defined in three ways – timeliness, accuracy and appropriateness.
So it’s reasonable to expect that we are dealt with quickly, properly and in a suitable way.
These days, when staff training is widely available, we do get better standards of customer service. There are bound to be occasions when rogue individuals slip through, or perhaps just born that way, but generally I believe it’s improved.
Of course, another way of looking at customer service is that it’s a two-way street. The customer also has a role to play – being a good customer.
My own definition is that the customer should be polite, specific and realistic (about queuing, timing, nature of the request etc). What the customer should not be is impatient, rude, hostile or unclear in what he or she wants or needs.
This goes right across the board, in stores or online. It only seems fair that being a good customer is seen as important for a healthy retail and commercial world.
Do not, for example, talk on your mobile as you’re being served at a counter or in the supermarket. The staff member deserves your undivided attention, not have to guess your response by facial expressions.
Do not treat the staff member as though they were an inferior being, there to serve your highness. This is a transaction not social role-playing. And do not expect him or her to know what you want by some sort of divine intervention. Be clear about your needs and, again, realistic if they have not got it in stock, out soon or it’s still in the project stages.
Be a good customer from your side of the counter. It’s only fair.