Customer Service. It’s a word we all know well and unfortunately, now a days has a bit of a negative connotation. I work in the meeting industry and I’ve seen customer service become less important to people. A client might get a little bit difficult or need an extension, and I’ve seen meeting planners scold them. I’ve seen a client ask a question and someone get a bit “high and mighty” on them as if they are asking a dumb question. It seems insane to me that people can talk to others in that way, let alone have someone speak to their client that way. As a meeting planner, or anyone in the customer service industry, our ultimate goal is to provide a service to our customers in a way that allows them to achieve their goals. Yes, that can be difficult at times, and we all know what difficult clients are like. But that doesn’t change our job. Our purpose.
I recently went into a department store looking for something specific for a friend. I had no idea where to look and thought I’d just ask the first person I saw for help. As I approached the woman standing at the customer service desk, I noticed she didn’t even look at me as I approached. I felt myself slow and mentally had thoughts like, “Should I even ask? Is this a stupid question? I can find it myself after awhile, I’m sure. I don’t want to bother her.”
When I got to the desk she looked up and looked as if I was annoying her to end simply by being in front of her. I asked my question and she pointed and said two aisles past bedding and went right back to what I could now see was her phone.
What a terrible experience! I remember checking out and thinking to myself, well I’m not going to be coming back here. That got me thinking about how many times I let my experiences with employees affect where I shop. I write places off when I have a bad experience, and praise other place where I have great experiences. I tell my friends when I receive great customer service and I definitely complain to them when I receive poor customer service.
The same is true for us in the meeting planning industry. Everything comes down to customer service. Meeting planning isn’t rocket science. But it’s an art form in making our customers feel comfortable. You want people to be able to approach you with questions, even if they feel it’s silly. They don’t know – you do. That’s your job. Your job is to answer every question and make sure that the client or customer has what they need logistically taken care of so that they can focus on their part of the meeting and achieving the outcomes they need.
Good customer service and making our clients feel comfortable allows us to know that our customers will tell others about their good experiences. The same is true for negative experiences. You can bet that clients will talk when they feel they have received bad service, too. Good customer service isn’t hard. You smile, you make yourself available, you answer questions. Providing clients what they need in a positive manner creates a mutual respect. Good experiences lead to recommendations to other clients, and that’s how you grow your business. Hard work is needed, yes. But good customer service is essential. So remember to smile and create a welcoming and helpful environment for anyone you are helping. You never know who they will talk to about their experiences with you and the organization you represent.