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Coffee and Customer Service

By Rachel Schwarz

The other day, while studying at a chain coffeehouse, I walked up to the counter to order my drink. “We’ll have that right out to you,” the barista said. I went back to my seat and waited for her to call out my drink. Instead, she personally delivered it to me, told me to enjoy, and flashed a big smile in my direction.

Two parts of this interaction stood out to me. The first was that the barista went above and beyond to provide me with good customer service. Normally, the operation of this specific coffeehouse feels like a corporate machine, so for this particular location to take the extra step and make its guests feel at home made a huge difference.

Next, the smile that she gave me turned my entire day around. “Service with a smile” is an overly used phrase that is extremely undervalued. When employees are happy to be at their job, it shows.

So, the next time you find yourself in a customer service bind, remember this: a little extra effort goes a long way. This speaks to your work performance as well as your attitude when interacting with others.

Do Not Assume

Your least favorite word must become “assume”. The less you assume, the better you’ll communicate.

You blow it when you assume she’s pregnant, he’s too old to buy the Jaguar, the couple can’t afford the house because of the way they’re dressed, the overweight child is lazy, the misspellings mean he’s stupid, or the male, rather than the female, has the final purchasing power.

Ouch. Just mentioning these few examples may have caused you to cringe, because you’ve made one of these mistakes in your professional and personal worlds.

Assumptions can cost you….

A dental assistant once told me that during a new patient consultation she assumed the couple she was interviewing were mother and son. In reality, the woman was married to the man, and they went elsewhere for their dental care.

De-program your ‘myth slate’! Congratulations to this Lexus dealership. Recently a friend and I went car shopping. We had just finished a 4-mile walk on a hot summer day. Sporting our sweaty workout clothes, we were not dressed for success. The sales guy did NOT assume that our attire equated our purchasing capability. He treated us graciously and with total respect. My friend bought a Lexus.

It’s easy to make assumptions. When you hear yourself say, “I assume the team has sent the email”, or “I assume they Fed-Exed the brief” … stop! …investigate! Assume nothing.

When you hear yourself THINK “I assume they can’t afford this”, or “I assume she isn’t interested in this service because she hasn’t returned my calls” … Stop! Assume nothing and keep trying.

Assume nothing but the sale and you will never have to shrink with embarrassment, or worse yet, lose the opportunity to sell yourself, your product, or your service.

* The next time you think or say “I assume”, STOP.
* Reconsider.
* Go for the truth.

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