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Great service does not come naturally to everyone

Here is a quick little story about great service and the lack of it.

The other Saturday when I was about to grab some lunch, my wife asked if I wanted to go grocery shopping instead, and at the same time visit a food truck that CocaCola had at the grocery store. They offered some texmex and drinks. The latter of course from their range.

Why not, I thought, so I joined in.

Arriving at the store, where the food truck was parked, we decided to start with it. There was no queue, so we headed straight to the truck.

There we are greeted by lined up cans of drink and three rear ends. They belonged to those standing in the car to serve the customers. They didn’t realize we were there at first, as they were busy with their own internal discussions. And they weren’t very responsive to the fact that someone could come up to them.

– Hello, said my wife, a little louder because it was both a greeting and a call for attention.

It takes a few seconds, a little too long to be welcoming, before one of them turns around. He mumbles something and hands us each a can of coke, and a small tray with five nachos and some cheese and sauce on it.

– Wow, how am I going to be able to eat all this? I thought to myself.

But then I thought more about the encounter with the staff and the lack of good service. My thoughts went on to say that I encounter this in so many places; that we lack common courtesy and politeness.

I think that whoever gave the three young people the task of standing there in the car selling coke and a tray of chips, has assumed that they will be service-minded. That it is something that happens naturally. It has not even occurred to them that they need to be taught what ‘service’ is.

That’s the only conclusion I can make; we can’t take for granted that everyone behaves nicely, that they greet and smile when serving a customer. This is not the case.

Offering great service is not something everyone can do

The person we hire needs to be briefed on how your organization has specified that you should provide great service. This means, you need to decide and then communicate what “service” is. It is not something that is the icing on the cake, it is the cake itself.

There is a need for training that includes exercises on how to do this. Some have it naturally, while others do not, but for your quality to be high, service needs to permeate throughout your entire business.

What if we had approached the car and were greeted with a warm smile and a cheerful “hello and welcome, can I offer you a drink and a small tray of nachos?” And then “Here you go, I hope you enjoy it. We also have a discount coupon for nacho chips and drinks that can be redeemed in the store.”

It would have been a completely different experience. Now CocaCola is spending money on a food truck with a fancy print on the side and special lights around the vehicle. Very nice. They also have a lot of goods that they pay for to give to us who visit them. But…the feeling falls flat, when the service is so non-existent.

What can you do better?

Don’t ignore what we humans are so sensitive to; good or bad quality in human interaction.

  • Where do you, and you, meet your customers, whatever you call them?
  • How do you deal with them in these meetings?
  • What can be improved?
  • Can you practice these meetings? Do it beforehand, so that it’s “in the back of your mind” when you meet the customer.

Besides wrongly assuming that everyone knows service, we do not feel comfortable specifying what good service is with our staff. We are not willing to take it on and practice these things with our staff.

Step in and take control of one of the most important parts of your meeting with the customer.

Good luck in your journey of change towards an (even) better service.