I’m back. Back in my special time of my year. The month in which people are on summer break and enjoy the beach. Or then they, just like me, work on getting everything ready and make it run smoothly for one of the most amazing events in this world. While last year the team consisted of half new and half returning people this year all but 4 are new. And once again it amazes me how amazing all those young people I work with are. They are fun, they are polite, they have an amazing work ethic. All of them have one thing in common: They make you feel good. And I think it’s the vibe people feel when they arrive. It’s why our Slam is called the Happy Slam. I don’t want to repeat myself but rather share a post from last year as a Blast From The Past…
… Determines how people receive it. I strongly believe that your attitude has a huge impact on how people receive a situation. You can make it or break it by the way you react on things, by the way you carry yourself and by the way you communicate things to others. It’s up to you if you blow a situation out of proportion or if you make something major appear like a minor hiccup.
It’s something I learned over the many years of my life and especially working the job I used to have. I admit I did not always handle situations perfectly well and that’s probably why I can tell now how much of a difference your behavior can make.
In a couple of days I will start my block of work again. I’m looking forward to it so very much. It will bring back my little piece of the past, not just with the environment I will work in but also what I will be doing and people I will see and haven’t seen for the last 12 months or even longer.
The 31 days of January won’t be easy, there will be long hours of work, heaps of people, some tantrums, some “do you even know who I am’s” and other pressure points we don’t know of just yet.
When you deal with people you never know what you will deal with until it happens. But I don’t really care. I know how I react. I know how I handle situations. I also know that there is the possibility that I might encounter a situation that throws me off, a situation that will push me out of my comfort zone and that might me feel like I have no solution. But it’s all there to make you learn.
I believe that if you make people feel heard you already did a big thing. I often find that frustrations grows out of feeling unheard or not taken seriously. It applies to all kind of situations in life. It’s one of the things I believe are important in any kind of customer service related job. Even if you feel like the issue they seem to have is no issue you still need to make them feel taken seriously even if you simply explain that there is no issue at all.
I don’t know if that post makes sense to you. It’s just what goes through my mind at the moment. Over the next couple of weeks I will work with a team of people who could be my children. All of them, even the “old” ones (I would have been a young mom but I still could be their mom…). Most of them I know from last year. Some are new but we already did some work together over the last weeks. What amazes me is how great they all are.
Often, when I’m out there I feel like the sense for customer service got lost. I feel like many of the young people I encounter have no idea about how to treat a customer. Often it feels as if they simply don’t care. Every now and then you get wow-ed by someone, simply because that person does care and makes you feel like you matter. Coming from a place that relies so highly on tourists and in that sense needs good customer service as it is one of the major thing to make guests feel good, it really irks me if I deal with someone who seems to not give a rats ass about you and your needs.
I see where the meme is coming from and I find it a great idea honestly. Put that mirror up. Not only for your customers though but also for you. It should work both ways. I guess bottom line is: Treat others the way you’d like to be treated. As a customer but also in customer service.
It irks me that I feel wow-ed when someone cares. Because if you work in any job that has the slightest to do with any kind of customer service you should care. It should matter to you how you make people feel. And your aim should be to make them feel good. Maybe even better than before. Even if you can’t help them.
I find it amazing to see an entire group of young people working together and actually care about how they make people feel. The job we do is related to a feel good event. It’s what we all want that event to be. It should be a fantastic experience for everyone. The aim should be that everyone working for this event do our best to make it that amazing experience for everybody else. Of course there are always factors you can’t influence, as much as you try to plan ahead there is always that odd element you cannot control.
I guess what I’m trying to say here (in short now) is that even if there are things out of our control we can still be in charge of the ones we can control. And one of the main things we can control is our attitude.
If our attitude is right, we most likely send out the right kind of vibes. If our approach is right, we will get further. If our reaction is the right one we will keep control. If the way we treat our customers is the right one, we will most likely see them walk away with a happy smile on their face. Even if things don’t go smoothly we can make a difference in the way customers experience it if we deal with it right.
As a customer I like to see that people do their very best to make my experience a great one. I have high standards as a customer. You pay good money for something and the person who is on the other side gets their share of the money you pay. So you can expect good service. I guess the key point is that the staff needs to relate to the business they work for. They need to feel like they are doing it for themselves in that sense, treat the business they work for as if it is their own. It’s how I see it when I do my job.
Having high standards works the other way around too. Treating the job you do as if it is work for your business is key. In this sense it is your business too, even if the company you work for is not yours. The moment you get paid you make it yours. Your little company. And I think you should be proud to do what you do and do it the very best way possible.
Years ago I had a conversation with a cleaner. I was waiting for a flight and used the bathroom that person had just cleaned. I sort of apologized for using the freshly cleaned one and making it “dirty” again and made another remark about “it must feel frustrating at times”. We started chatting and it as about attitude. The attitude of travelers not really caring for a clean area and making a huge mess even if the cleaner was just right next to them but also about his attitude towards his job. He told me a couple of stories about people and the way they treated him. Some were nice, some were not so nice.
In the end he told me that he takes pride in his job. He told me that he always wants to do his very best. He told me that it doesn’t really matter if he works for a bank or in one of the other high paying positions. He told me that all that matters is that you always give your very best. “When I walk out of a restroom I have just cleaned I know that it is the cleanest it can be. Because that’s how I work, that’s who I am. I want it to be the cleanest because then I know I did my very best.”
It made me think of a book I once read, Momo by Michael Ende. There is an old guy in it who cleans the streets and he has an important advice for Momo:
“…it’s like this. Sometimes, when you’ve a very long street ahead of you, you think how terribly long it is and feel sure you’ll never get it swept. And then you start to hurry. You work faster and faster and every time you look up there seems to be just as much left to sweep as before, and you try even harder, and you panic, and in the end you’re out of breath and have to stop–and still the street stretches away in front of you. That’s not the way to do it.
You must never think of the whole street at once, understand? You must only concentrate on the next step, the next breath, the next stroke of the broom, and the next, and the next. Nothing else.
That way you enjoy your work, which is important, because then you make a good job of it. And that’s how it ought to be.
And all at once, before you know it, you find you’ve swept the whole street clean, bit by bit. what’s more, you aren’t out of breath. That’s important, too…”
― Michael Ende, So the cleaner I encountered and also the character in the book have the same message: Always do your job the way that makes you sure you did the very best. It’s the way I approach it. And in doing so I make sure I make it a good experience for people around me too.
When you make your customers happy, you will end up happy too. It’s a give and take balance. Like so many things in life…