The Customer is Always...You

My girlfriend and I went out to dinner a few weeks ago and we had an exceptional waiter. More than just refilling our glasses at the right moment or getting all of the orders right, he made service an art form—and took creative license. Case(s) in point: when our table was ready, he asked if we had been at the bar. When we said yes, he asked what we had had to drink, and then proceeded to recommend similar drinks to everyone in our party. Then, instead of asking us if we were ready to order, he asked us what we were in the mood for that evening—and then made individual-specific recommendations based on our responses. His approach was so unique; after dinner, I asked him how he had developed this creative service style. His response was appallingly simple: “I got into the service industry because the money was good, but I stay because it is easy. I simply treat people how I would like to be treated when I go to a restaurant. When I have an exceptional service experience at a restaurant, I borrow the things that most impressed me and integrate them into my own style.”

It is so simple—give the service you would wish to receive—but it so often gets forgotten. The best service professionals, like the waiter I mentioned, are extremely self-aware, have a high level of emotional intelligence, and are easily able to empathize with people. For others, it doesn’t come so easily. However, you can arrive at a higher level of service by keeping the following in mind: you are a customer or a client, too—we all are. When you leave your job, you become someone’s client or customer. So, think of what you like, how you like to be addressed when you are angry about service, what your service expectations are, and more. This thought process will help you to better listen to your customers—and respond appropriately.

What do you think?

  • What other questions can you ask yourself to up your service game?
  • Why do you think it is so easy to forget that we are always customers and clients?
  • I think CHASE does this extremely well…when you call with a service question, they use the universal “we”. They understand that we are all in this together. What other company readily identifies with the customer/client perspective?



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Topics: business, communication, customer service