Customer service, networking and being “nice”

So there’s something I’ve witnessed, and you might not want to hear it:

There are far too many of us doing work outside of the service industry who could learn a few lessons from customer service.

Sure, it can be easy to criticize the service standards at the DMV or the post office, but what could you or others in your network do better?

As someone who has worked in various aspects of customer service for 15 years, and as someone who watches those in service regularly, there are a few pieces to note:

* Smile, and say Hello. If you skip any of these, don’t skip this one.
* If it’s appropriate, call people by name and introduce yourself. Granted, the importance of personal names is not a culturally universal value, but this may smooth the road.
* Look for ways to say Yes, rather than reasons to say No. Seth Godin has a great post about this.
* A conversation is more effective than a hard-sell.
* Don’t view the other person as an intrusion or an obstacle from your “real” work.

I guess my point is: it’s not always about you, your bad day, or your To Do list. Incorporate some customer service skills into your non-customer-service work, and I think you’ll be pleased with the results.

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