March 5, 2015
You Don't Know It's There Until It's Not
It's the little things, the things we don't even pay attention to half the time, that make the difference. The things we don't notice that play a big role in our decision making process and the forming of our personal preference. This (absolutely hilarious) story from Eli's bog about bad customer service inspired me to write a post about some of my experiences with good customer service. (Also, if you don't follow Eli's blog already - what on earth is your problem? It's the best blog out there. Twice up the barrel, once down the side.)
Customer service isn't really a thing that you notice, not unless it's really bad, or above and beyond the call of duty. I've always been the person who tries hard to care about the people providing me service... treating waiters and waitresses like they are human, being polite and friendly and patient, smiling at the person on the other side of the register and sincerely asking them how their day is. They have a tough job, and I know what a smile can do to make someone's day a thousand times better. I've made an effort to pay attention to the people, but never really thought that much about the actual service until this semester.
Last semester, I took a class in customer service, and it was so much fun. I have an awesome job at my hotel with management that is very focused not only on providing excellent customer service to our guests, but giving good service to us, the employees, as well. I would go into class and learn things, then go to work and get to see those same lessons in action. Since then, I have started to pay attention more.... and when you pay attention, it is interesting to see the things you otherwise would take for granted.
Most of the people employed in customer service are there just do their job, it's not bad, it's nothing extraordinary, it meets a need and that's that. And that's perfectly fine because, really, that's the definition of good customer service - service that works so well that you don't even notice it happening.
I've wondered if maybe that is the reason why the hospitality industry is one of those "Surprise!" jobs, as one person put it. The hospitality world is every where - every time you go out to eat, stay at a hotel, get on a plane, visit a conference, a meeting, a convention or attend a party, that is hospitality. You can't have the hospitality industry without customer service, because customer service is the hospitality industry. It's everywhere, but it it's one of those majors and career paths that you don't really think about until you run into it and go "Oh, I didn't even know this was a thing!" The hospitality industry is like customer service... when it's good, you don't even realize it's there.