Wanting to serve the customer – being downright eager about it – is easily projected. Customers feel this and they appreciate it. Moreover, the more eager you are to serve, the more likely customers are to forgive mistakes.
You cannot hide genuine eagerness. Likewise, you cannot hide a lack of genuine eagerness. Being eager, I would argue, is a requirement of good customer service. Without it, you have no business being on the front lines.
If your job brings you in contact with customers, ask yourself one question: “Am I eager?”
Eagerness, more than any other trait, determines whether or not your customer will feel like you care. That sticky sweetness that we sometimes hear from hotel clerks and waiters and waitresses – you know; that phony concern and forced smile that lacks genuine eagerness – is easy to spot. For many of your customers, this phoniness masquerading as customer service is like nails on a chalkboard.
Phony sweetness is so bad, in fact, that I would argue you’re better off just being your everyday, boring, miserable, honest self if you can’t be eager. Serve them what they came for without the phoniness.
Think about Chick-fil-A for a minute. Yes, they provide a good quality chicken sandwich. It’s not the absolute best sandwich any of us have ever had; it’s just fried chicken and a pickle on a bun. Yet, as we learned in the last post, Chick-fil-A is basically world-renowned for blowing away their competition with their customer service.
Here’s what I can say about Chick-fil-A: Their employees eagerly sell fast food sandwiches with manners.
This is somehow mind-blowingly good customer service? By comparison to, say, McDonald’s (where they also have a chicken sandwich on the menu), it is.
Here’s what I can say about McDonald’s: Their employees sell fast food sandwiches.
Notice the difference? Oh, and don’t just say it’s about manners. If the employees at Chick-fil-A were not eager to serve, would the service be perceived as being even half as good? Would hearing “my pleasure” or “please” or “thank you” from employees that hated their job and their customers ring true? Of course not.
What about the food quality? Without the eagerness and the manners, would people rave about fried chicken and a pickle on a bun? Doubtful.
Be eager to serve or find some other line of work.
Next up in the series: Tiny Hurdles & Miniature Hassles.
(If you’re catching this series for the first time, you may want to begin with the first post in the series: Why Does Good Customer Service Matter?)
Steve Stauning, creator of The Appointment Culture and an expert in The Customer Experience, is the host of Undeniable Advantage Live!, a monthly live video webcast and customer service training provider hosted at UndeniableAdvantage.com. He is also an extremely popular keynote speaker, writer, and industry consultant. Learn more about Steve at SteveStauning.com.