This is not an inspi-motivational call to action to have you say YES we can or whatever other positive mantra goes with the thoughts that accompany such calls. Far from it………. It is a call to action to NOT say YES to customers.
A colleague who runs a very popular African restaurant at the new departure terminal at the airport shared yesterday about a South African gentleman who came into her restaurant early the previous morning. As he approached the counter, she greeted him and asked how she could serve him. His first exasperated exclamation was “Why can’t everyone be like you? How is it possible that two adjacent eating facilities can be so different?!”
On further enquiry, what had infuriated her customer was that at the neighbour’s eating house he’d first gone to, the person at the counter on his arrival there had looked up at him and said ‘YES?’
Whilst this may not seem catastrophic, and many a person will think her customer, let’s call him Mr. Yes had overreacted, it actually represents a very big customer service no –no. I personally have such a pet peeve against being greeted/met/accosted/hit with the word YES. I have in fact taken to saying NO right back anytime a service provider behind a counter, booth or shop table says ‘YES?’ to me. What is ‘YES?’ What is the customer supposed to respond once you ask them ‘YES?’ For it is unfailingly used in questioning form.
Good customer service dictates that we must greet our customers as an opening line. Good morning/afternoon/evening or hello, or greetings, or hi, in as far as the prevailing circumstance orders and depending on the formality of the situation. It doesn’t matter what is going on or not going on, greeting the customer first we MUST.
I’ve analysed this ‘YES?’ that service providers are fond of saying on first contact and it directly translates to ‘What do you want?’ and in some instances it translates to ‘Next?’ especially where there exists a queue. Why would you want to greet your customers like this? Why would this be the first thing that comes out of your mouth to a customer and we know only too well that first impressions count and last forever?
I get so irked by this ‘YES?’ business that after I proceed to tell whoever’s assaulted me with it( ok I exaggerate, but isn’t that just what it is?) ‘NO’ in response to their ‘YES?’, I further proceed to deliver a quick lecture on the atrocity of their belting out ‘YES?’ to customers. And yes, my friends and family get quite annoyed with my insatiable need to deliver these lectures all the time and often implore me to let it be. But no – the customer service enthusiast in me refuses to sit still and let the YES sayers carry on.
And so back to Mr. Yes story. So delighted was he with the greeting and welcome he received, that he had one tiny cup of English tea that cost round about Kshs. 200/- and left my friend who was his waitstaff for the day a tip equivalent of Kshs. 5000/-
Fancy that? How about this incident as a true example of the power of greeting? It behooves us as service providers in whatever enterprise to inculcate a greeting culture in our establishments. If for nothing else, it is good manners and has the direct potential to contribute to the institution’s bottom line.
Yes go ahead and ditch the ‘YES?’ and greet the customer standing in front of you………. It pays J