Owning a retail brand is almost worth doing just for the study in human behaviour that comes with it. Standing behind a counter and taking money in return for handing over a product offers amazing insights into society. It really does. You would think it would be a simple process. It isn’t. Yes, some customers are great. But some aren’t. Don’t be a dick this festive season. Follow the guidelines below and not only will you feel better about life in general, you’ll also actually receive better service. Show respect. Get respect. It’s that easy.
1.Be polite. Chances are that person has been on shift for a few hours. A simple “Hello, how’s it going today?” will go a long way in setting the stone for what will follow. So will words like “please” and “thank you”. Remember the manners that you teach your kids? Time to practice what you preach.
2. Be patient. Christmas is crazy. You know that. There’s something in the air at this time of the year that makes everyone act weird. Try and understand where the person helping you is coming from. Ask yourself if waiting an extra 5 minutes is really going to destroy your day. It probably won’t.
3. Be forgiving. Brands make mistakes. People make mistakes. The good brands and the good people will do everything they can to fix these. Try and show some leniency. More often than not, there was no malice intended. Something just fell through the cracks. Listen to the possible solutions before freaking out.
4. Be sure. Some business owners have beards. Some have tattoos. Some wear sneakers with their skirts. There might even be piercings involved. If you want to speak to a manager or owner, ask the person assisting you first if they have the authority to hear you out.
5. Be calm. Take a few deep breaths when things go wrong. (If they go wrong.) Is it worth the swearing? Is it worth the tantrum? Is there a civil, rational way to try and resolve an issue? Explore these.
6. Be kind. Sometimes, just sometimes, a brand does a good job. Thank them for it. Take a few minutes to send a mail, make a call or – even better – tell them to their face. Trust me, it will mean the world to the staff.
7. Be respectful. For some, service isn’t a last resort. It is a choice. Hospitality is a tough career but there are a few people who have chosen it out of a crazy sense of pride and passion. Instead of treating someone serving you like an actual “servant”, listen to their advice. They are not inferior. Ask questions. Communicate. Enjoy it, even.
Most of all, bear in mind that while you’re enjoying a well-earned holiday, that poor bastard sweating it out is having the busiest, most stressful time of the year. Let’s not make it worse for them.
Go forth and eat,