Outstanding Customer Service: It’s a Privilege, Not an Entitlement

customer service | people at restaurant

Outstanding Customer Service: It’s a Privilege, Not an Entitlement

Last month, my husband, kids, and I sat down to lunch at a beachside restaurant on Long Island, New York. I asked the waitress if I could swap out one kind of cheese for another on a salad. That answer was an unequivocal, “No.”

“Really?” I asked.

“No substitutions for anything on the menu!” she replied. And sure enough, there was the same message printed in a teeny tiny size at the bottom of the message.

I have to admit that I was pretty taken aback, and I was about to argue with her about how stupid the rule is. But before I did, I stopped for a minute and reminded myself, “She’s just the messenger! This is not her rule!”

Had I ranted like an angry jerk, I would not have deserved good service from her. And honestly, a lot of the behavior I see – even from my own clients – makes me wonder why people feel so entitled to good customer service. While I do my best to take the high road and deliver great service no matter what, sometimes I want to tell people to just fuck off.

But I don’t. The view from the high road is pretty great.

Want outstanding customer service? Here’s how to get it:

Be nice

Duh, right? But just being nice – not grumpy, not rude, not obnoxious – will take you far. The nicer you are, the more people will actually look forward to interacting and working with you – and you’ll probably find yourself on the receiving end of consistently outstanding service.

Don’t assume the worst

Because we’re human, we all make mistakes from time to time. Don’t assume that someone is trying to screw you over on purpose. Simply ask, “What happened?” You’ll know by the answer whether or not you are getting screwed over.

Read that email out loud before you hit “send”

You might think your message is short and to the point, but the recipient might read it and feel like they just got slapped in the face. Read all emails out loud before you hit “send” to make sure your tone of voice is on point.

One email is better than six

Clogging someone’s inbox with multiple messages that could have been combined into one email drives people nuts – me included. It actually causes me to hold off on replying just because I’m so annoyed. So don’t do it!

Spell my name right

Not bothering to spell someone’s name right verges on the disrespectful. Yes, I know – I already said we’re human and we make mistakes. But you have to learn from your mistakes! Spell my name wrong once, no problem. Spell it wrong every single time you write it, and you just fell to the bottom of my to-do list.

Tell us if you’re not happy

When something goes wrong – which it inevitably does – tell someone who can fix the situation – and tell them immediately. Holding in a complaint doesn’t do you any favors.

There are limits to “above and beyond”

The Four Seasons is famous for going above and beyond to deliver an outstanding experience, but there are limits. You can ask for the moon, but if you’re told, “Sorry we cannot do that for you,” respect the answer you get.

So, what do you think? Is outstanding customer service a right, or it is a privilege? What do you do to ensure you get great service – and how do you deliver it to others?

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