By Melina Orantes
Working in customer service this past year has brought a new perspective to communication in general. Interacting with different customers made me realize that certain manners are lost when customers and employees exchange words. Society needs to learn formal etiquette when interacting with human beings of all kinds, including humans hired to assist us.
One can only go so long waiting for an employee to do his or her job and to do it with a smile. (After all, they are getting paid to be there.) However, employees on the other end are not thinking of how much they are getting paid. Rather, they are thinking of how much they are not getting paid to deal with someone else’s wants and needs.
Employees are there to not only satisfy a customer’s needs, but also do so in a way that follows their employer’s rules and policies. An employee gets paid to assist in whatever way he or she can, but that does not mean he or she should be whistled to come to a customer’s side and be told how to do their job. It also does not mean that employees must forcibly call corporate to change the price on a product that a customer has deemed too expensive.
Employees have limits that only go so far; they have less power than one might think. Raising your tone at them will not make the total go down. What people may not know is that asking for a manager politely can benefit customers much more than eye rolling.
A customer’s lack of interaction is also offensive. I have seen cashiers act like machines toward so many customers. Customers no longer look at them in the eye or even respond to a greeting, which lead to that machinelike behavior. It shows that cashiers ” and employees overall ” only exist when customers need them. Their worth as a human being somehow diminishes when they cannot get customers what they want.
However, they are very much human. When we no longer look at employees as human beings, their jobs stop feeling humane. Suddenly, their acts of kindness on top of their assigned duties become lost.
Some companies train their employees to “get to know” their customer. They learn to ask about what they are buying and how it is working out for them. Customers are generally pleased with that type of interaction. Coming across employees who are patient and listen to their customers’ needs is rewarding. It feels like there is someone who genuinely wants to help customers out. Both the customer and the employee feel respected.
We interact with so many manmade machines throughout our day that we can go hours without human interaction. Giving a smile to someone could leave a lasting impression, and in this day and age, that lasting impression is rewarding. We forget that we are human, and sometimes we crave talking with another human being.
People need to realize that we are all human beings. Having the idea implanted in our heads allows for an understanding that we are real people with feelings and thoughts that like to be heard. A stranger acting out of pure kindness is one of the greatest feelings because it shows that no one is ever alone. In a world where we are so cut off from the rest of humanity at times, it’s nice to know that someone ” whether a friend or a customer service employee ” values and acknowledges your presence.
Monica Lopez / The Poly Post
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