Archive for the ‘Customer Service’ Category
One of my absolute favourite things in this world is a good cup of coffee. A Starbucks Americano is about as close to a good cup of coffee a Flygirl can obtain in an airport. The nice thing about Starbucks is that things are generally pretty consistent no matter where you go. Some stores have better service, more interactive Baristas, but all in all the Starbucks experience is pretty much the same no matter where you go. This is why I was shocked and dismayed by my experience on May 20, 2012.
I arrived at the Winnipeg Airport at approximately 1730. I had about an hour to hang out at the airport before meeting up with the crew I had been called in to join. I sat and people watched. I made a phone call. As I was chatting on the phone, I decided that I should get myself some coffee. I wandered over to the Starbucks. There were 3 employees (two in Uniform, one just hanging out talking) off to one side, having a very indepth and animated conversation about a party. There was also one other employee very busy cleaning the floors. She was doing an amazing job at it – scraping by hand whatever it was that would not come up with just the mop. I took a quick look at my watch – yep – still lots of time. I stood there. I stood there some more. I listened to the party conversation. Oh to be that young again!! I watched the poor girl doing the floors – wondering why she wasn’t included in the party group. I made mention, rather loudly, to my phone companion that I was not being acknowledged at the Starbucks. This didn’t work. When I looked at my watch again – I had actually been standing there for 5 minutes. As it neared the 6 minute mark, the floor-cleaning girl looked up with a start, and came over to help me. She took my order, quite obviously flustered.
And then… She started to make my drink.
Now, please know that I am NOT a germ-a-phobe. I have a pretty good immune system for the most part, and I think this is partly due to the fact that I am not scared of a few germs here and there. It happens. However, this girl had been SCRAPING BY HAND the gunk on the floor. I had to say something. I had to ask her to wash her hands before she made my drink. This shocked myself, my phone companion and the girl! I explained to her that she had been washing the floors, and that I would just feel better if she washed her hands before she made my drink. Thankfully she started the process over again after washing her hands, brand new cup and everything.
In all of this, the group off to the side had not moved.
I took my Americano, and left. I said my Good Byes on the phone, and went to help the Agents at the gate. One of them went over to get drinks for the 3 Agents. Party Group still didn’t budge. Thankfully Floor-Cleaning Girl was there to step in. When my crew arrived, one of THEM went over. Guess What?? Same thing. This time, it was found out that the girl was NEW. I was dismayed. Not only was she cut out of the Party Group, but not one of those other employees thought it would be a good idea to help out the new girl. They had her doing the grunt work, as well as the fun work. Poor Thing – she had to do ALL of the work.
Shame on all of you, Party Group.
Work Place Karma will get you.
Lessons learned on this day. Airport Starbucks have some of the most awful service. I could write for another hour on the service received at the Starbucks on the Secure Side of Terminal 3 at Toronto Pearson Airport. I also now watch my Baristas very closely for hand washing.
Where have you had good Starbucks experiences? Bad?
Let me know.
Just Do It.
The words have been used in many different ways, becoming iconic in the advertising world as athletes in their Nike shoes and clothes told us all to “Just Do It”.
I am here now, to tell you the same thing.
Just Do It.
We all have parts of our jobs that maybe we don’t really like to do. Menial tasks, dirty jobs, cleaning – whatever it is – we just don’t LIKE to do it. Yet these tasks need to BE done – and they need to be done BY YOU. They need to be done BY ME. The fact is, if you work in the Customer Service Industry in any way, these jobs exist and by not doing them, you are creating a nasty environment for everyone you are in contact with.
When you refuse to be a team player, you are making life difficult for your co-workers. You are making yourself look bad, and you are making it so people don’t actually want to work with you. Customers can SEE this happening. They can feel the tension. They may not be able to pinpoint exactly WHY, but they will know it’s not a comfortable atmosphere. This hurts business. This hurts the bottom line. This hurts EVERYONE.
In my Flight Attendant Role and my Bar-Server Role, the job I don’t like to do is empty the garbages. I don’t like the smell, I don’t like the appearance – all in all the garbages gross me out. Sometimes I don’t have to do it. Those days are awesome! However – there are plenty of times I DO have to do it. I don’t like it, and I curse under my breath and I gag a little bit and I am generally pretty miserable about it. BUT… I DO IT. I know it needs to be done, and I know that as part of a TEAM I need to hold up my end of the bargain sometimes. Also, as a trainer and sometimes-supervisor I would never dream of asking someone to do something I am not willing to do myself. That is NOT good leadership. So, I hold my breath and yank the garbage out.
I also know that people enjoy working with me. Is it ONLY because I will do the dirty jobs? Obviously not – it’s a combination of being fun, solid and good at my jobs – combined with not feeling any job is beneath me. I am a team player, and a PROUD one at that.
What jobs do you not like to take care of in your place of work? Let’s discuss!!!
There are so many different ways to ensure you are providing a high level of Customer Service.
- Being Interested
- Being Knowledgable
- Getting to know your Customers
- Making people feel special
- Smiling (oh.. wait… I think I said that already!)
But one that a lot of people forget, is BEING PROUD.
Have you ever asked someone “What do you do for work”? and had the following reply? “Oh, I’m JUST a ________”.
JUST A ????
Why would anyone want to call themselves “JUST A” anything?
Personally, I am MANY things.
I am a Mother. I am a Wife. I am a Daughter. I am a Friend. I am a Flight Attendant AND a Waitress. I am certainly NOT “JUST” any of those things.
Choosing those words shows a lack of pride, and having a lack of pride in what you do short-changes not just the people you are dealing with – it short-changes YOU.
Being proud of who you are and what you are doing has a huge impact.
We have a guy at my Bar Job. To some people, he is JUST a dishwasher. To me and my co-workers – he’s our hero. He has such a sense of pride in doing his job well that he makes the rest of our jobs that much easier. We never have to ask him to empty our dishbins. We never have to ask him when certain dishes will be clean. When we do ask him to help with other things, he always smiles and says yes. He knows the value in what he is doing, and is proud to do it.
We can all learn from my dishwasher buddy.
I challenge you all to find the value in what you are doing. This doesn’t even have to be in your work-lives. Find the value in what you do in every aspect of your life. Be PROUD of what you are doing. If you are in the service industry – this will translate into people seeing you in a different way. Your pride will shine through and people will react positively to that.
I bet you will find that you enjoy your job that much more, as well.
Anyone who has followed me for any length of time knows that I am a self-declared “Fairmont Girl”. If it’s a Fairmont Hotels and Resorts property, I love it! I sing the praises of their service levels, their staff and their properties. Any negative experiences I have had have been dealt with in such an amazingly professional and thorough way that they leave me feeling positive and even more in love. So I was as surprised as you all will be when I encountered an experience that certainly rivalled, if not out-shone, a Fairmont Experience last night. This experience happened at the Sparks Lounge at the Delta Ottawa Hotel and Suites.
This is a lady who is a career server for sure. And why wouldn’t she be? She was AMAZING. She knew the menu, she knew her drinks and more importantly, she knew how to read her customers. She helped us decide on our meal, knowing we weren’t looking for anything heavy. She didn’t try to force us into an expensive dinner. She recommended we share Tapas. She recommended her favourite Tapas. She joked. She smiled. She laughed. She didn’t hover when we were talking, nor did she allow our beverages to get too low before offering more.
She made us feel welcome.
She made us feel appreciated and important.
She was a perfect example of excellence in Customer Service.
Her excellence is simple. She took pride in her job, and her place of employment. She genuinely likes people, and takes the time to develop a relationship with her customers. She made her job fun. She made sure her customers had fun. She was genuine and real.
I don’t often frequent the Lounge at this hotel. I have a good friend who lives up the street, and when I don’t visit with her, I tend to go outside of the hotel. However, now that I know Betty, and know how amazing I will be treated – I will be back. I will encourage my crews to join me. I will encourage my Ottawa friends to join me there instead of elsewhere around the area.
Betty has turned me into a part-time Delta-Girl.
I hope Fairmont doesn’t mind.
It’s such a simple thing.
Yet, for something so simple, and so easy to do – it has a huge impact on the people around us.
It signifies so many things. Happiness. Understanding. Love. Joy. Appreciation. Excitement. Adoration. The list goes on and on…
Your smile can also show respect and acknowledgment. If you are in the service industry in any way, or just plain deal with people in your daily activities – a smile can be your most powerful tool.
Simply smiling at someone shows that you are approachable and friendly. When you make eye contact and smile at someone, you can instantly put them at ease, and can potentially disarm someone’s warpath, if they were set on one.
Did you know that even if you are dealing with someone on the phone, they can “hear” your smile? Your voice instantly becomes friendlier and you come across as more empathetic and caring.
Smiling at someone can instantly change their mood. You can lift someone’s spirits simply by catching their eye and smiling. If you yourself are in a bad mood, plastering on a big ol’ grin can actually help to improve your own mood as well. Smiles are contagious, and a real smile can be caught just from faking one.
The next time you are out and about and see someone having a bad day, or when you have to deal with that cranky customer – try making eye contact and smiling. The eye contact shows that you are focused on them, and lets them know that you are directing that smile at them. I bet that you will see a difference in them almost immediately. You can then spend the rest of your day with a smile on your face, knowing that you made a positive impact that day.