Yesterday’s library link of the day was to an article about first impressions “First impressions and rethinking the restroom question“. It was a reminder to remember that a question that might have been asked of a staff member at a reception desk multiple times (for example, ‘where’s the restroom?’) is being asked each time by a different person and perhaps a first time visitor. As such the question should be answered as politely as possible and gives an opportunity to give the visitor a positive first impression.
This article struck me, as I’m sure we’ve all come across staff in shops or offices who seem completely bored or impatient with seemingly inane or stupid questions. Quite a few of these people have probably been to customer service training but the whole concept of a positive experience for the customer seems to have passed them by.
When I was a library assistant on a circulation desk, customer service training had been drummed into us, but I’d also had some customer service training before working in a library. Of them all, I found the trick to putting on the smile and treating everyone pleasantly, no matter how stressed, was the very one suggested in the above article – ie pretend the customer is a relative or friend or the next genius. Remember that this person has had the courage to come up to the desk, perhaps as their very first visit to a daunting building to ask what might be a stupid question.
And when you think back to good customer service you’ve received, it’s from staff who have treated you as if you are special, that you are an individual and not another nameless face asking the same question that numerous others might have asked.
I no longer work on a service desk but I remember the positive glow I got from being pleasant and helpful and receiving positive feedback in return. It makes the day for everyone concerned, especially during stressful times such as exam time or Christmas!
As if sensing my positivity, the grey rain-sodden clouds outside have parted to let the sun shine – for a change!