Posted By janice on January 24, 2011
The woman was definitely not organized. She decided to go through the piles of clothing in her cart at the cash register and had the clerk ring each thing up and then decide if she wanted it or not.
People always talk about the importance of good customer service, but what about being a good customer?
Bad customers are inconsiderate
We’ve all experienced bad customers. Heck, we may have been one ourselves a time or two. Customers behaving badly affect all of us. Cell phone usage also makes us a bit rude instead of having that human contact we need to have for an effective customer service experience.
Here are a few bad customers I’ve seen in action:
- The person ordering four or five beverages at Starbucks – in the drive thru.
- The people on their cell phones in line, not paying attention when they’re checking out or placing their order.
Be organized, learn good customer etiquette
So how do you be a good customer?
Behave with your cell phone: First, get off the damn phone when you need to pay attention and talk to someone else other than the person on the phone. This includes the drive thru. You know it’s a problem when businesses have to post signs asking people to get off their cell phones while they’re in line.
Be present, human: When you talk to a customer service representative (i.e. the barista, wait staff, clerk, manicurist, etc.), make eye contact and smile. Yeah, I know this sounds very elementary, but we need to remind ourselves that we are humans dealing with other human beings.
It’s easy to hide behind technology and forego human relationships, but we need to remember that the people waiting on us are just people too.
Take big orders inside: If you are ordering a large amount of food and drinks, park and go inside. Don’t go through the drive thru. You’re more likely to have a complete and accurate order if you go inside, and you’re less likely to incite road rage in your fellow customers behind you in the drive through.
Answer pricing questions before checking out: If you need a price check, use the price scanner if the store has one. If not, go to customer service with the item and ask before getting in line. If that’s not an option, make sure you ask the clerk up front to check the price for you.
Now, there are moments when we are high maintenance and need to ask lots of questions. Think of when you’re trying to figure out what kind of cell phone, TV, or appliance to buy. You may need to take up the time of a customer service rep.
Mind your manners: Always apologize up front and say, “You know I have a lot of questions, and I’m not sure what I want. Can you help me?” You can even apologize a second time by saying, “Sorry this is taking so long.” It shows the compassion you have for their time. Yes, I know it’s their job to help you, but we need to acknowledge what they do for us more often.
Manners count. Tossing in please and thank you goes a long way to fostering a healthy, short-term relationship with the customer service rep. You don’t have to take them to lunch, but showing some kindness and manners help.
If you receive bad customer service despite being a good customer, you have every right to complain to their manager or another higher up.