MANAGEMENT ARTICLES

How To Provide Excellent ( Personal ) Customer Service

(Peter Frans - Managing Partner - Trimitra Consultants)

 

An investigation carried out in a library

A number of people who visited a public library were photographed with  a hidden camera as they had their books checked out by  the staff.

The  people  who  issued the books were asked to  pay  as  little attention as possible to the borrowers.

They were asked to try to be completely neutral, no smile, no eye-contact, no greeting  and no physical contact at all. At  the exit, the borrowers were interviewed about their  impressions of the library.

They all agreed, the service was  bad. This was the result expected.

What  was a surprise to the researchers, however, was  that  very few  borrowers mentioned the staff when complaining of the  service.

They felt that the poor impression was caused by bad  lighting, a difficult numbering system, etc. A few  complained  that they  could  never find the books they wanted and  had  to  order them.

In the second part of the experiment, the staff were asked to smile look the borrower in the eye,  mention the borrower's name (printed on the card) and touch the borrower's hand casually when  handing  over the books.

The  borrowers were again photographed with the same hidden  camera, and interviewed as they left the library.

The reaction was quite different. Almost all were satisfied  with the library's service. Again, very  few mentioned  the human aspect of the service,  and yet  it  was the only element that changed. Many  felt  the  good impression  they  received was due to good  lighting,  convenient numbering and cataloging, etc.

Most people accepted that  popular books were likely to be out and did not find it difficult to have to order them.
 
So, to give good service it would seem that "all" you have to  do is :

  • Smile,

  • Establish eye contact,

  • Use the customer's name,

  • Pay undivided attention,

  • Speak with the same pitch and speed,

  • Show  that, without  any  shadow of doubt, you respect and accept the customer,

  • Show that  you  respect your colleagues  and the organization you work for,

  • Be calm and confident,

  • Be well-groomed, clean and tidy.

Psychological  tests have established this to be "all"  that  is needed  for  the customer's total well-being. It  sounds  simple doesn't it ? It seems almost puzzling that it does not  always happen.

It  is not that simple, of course, because each person  not  only has  to want to provide service to this high level all  the  time but  also needs the necessary personal motivation to do so. 

Both increased desire and motivation come from an understanding of the close  link between good service and confidence in ourselves  and in the whole of our lives.

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