Courtesy to Customer Service

A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love. – Saint Basil


Just came back from dinner with a friend at a Japanese sushi restaurant. It was just a normal dinner, nothing out of the ordinary. But what struck a deep impact to me was the incident at the cashier.

The lady queuing in front of me was clearly mad. There could be a misunderstanding on the promotion she had – either she didn’t read it carefully or she didn’t communicate it to the staff, resulting in it not being honored.

As the cashier tactfully apologized for the inconvenience, and citing the T&C, the lady continued her barrage of verbal assaults:
“You change the expiry date to next month.”
“You should communicate it clearly to me when I signed up for the offer.”
“You can’t make any decision. Tell your management to speak to me.”
“Why should I call them? Tell them to call me.”

What the lady doesn’t know is that her continuous bombardment of insensitive remarks has created discontent on other customers. It has grown to a long queue, and she demanded on things that she thought was right. And everyone here was forced watching a scene, to say very the least.

If only the lady knew what an ugly scene she has created.

One thing I do know from this incident is, the staff usually follow the company policies. Lashing out to them doesn’t solve any problem. It only makes the situation worse.

Why would the scenario unfold? It comes from a feeling of entitlement. Entitled of being respected – the old paradigm of the customer is always right. She thought she is entitled to be respected and entitled to all her requests.

What I do know is – respect is to be earned, not entitled. Respect works in both ways – you show respect, and you will gain respect.

When it was my turn to pay, the staff said politely, “Sorry to keep you waiting. You have ordered..” in a very professional manner. This staff has gained my respect and admiration.

Countless of influential gurus cautioned against speaking in demeaning manners to others.

A tactful approach would be : “I understand it would create inconvenience to you. Would you kindly ask your manager to talk with me so that we can sort out this little misunderstanding? Thanks for your help.”

The staff would be more than happy to keep this kind of graceful customers. And the manager would go the extra miles to assist you.

What would be your reaction in situation like this? Or rather, how would you respond? Would you speak in a more tactful manner? How would you show respect to the individuals who work hard, earn an honest living, and still serve to their very best to ensure that you would have a good dining experience?

I believe you would do well, communicating with these relentless customer service personnel in our daily life.




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