How to be a good customer
One of my favorite movie quotes is from Maid in Manhattan. Lionel says, “To serve people takes dignity and intelligence… And although we serve them, we are not their servants.”
1.) I am not a secretary, so don’t treat me like one.
There’s nothing wrong with being a secretary, but that’s not what I do here. If I fax something for you or make a phone call for you that you should have done before you came in, please understand that I’m only doing it as a courtesy to you. Saying thank you wouldn’t be out of line.
2.) First come, first serve.
I’m amazed that in this day and age of equality there are still people that have a problem with the first come, first serve philosophy. Just imagine that all of the files on my desk represent customers standing in a line. You wouldn’t cut a line full of people, so why would you try to cut a line full of files? On a slow day I might be able to get something done for you 5 minutes after you call, but it might take longer if 20 people have called before you.
3.) Make it easy on the person answering the phone.
When I ask who’s calling, saying ‘Joe’ or ‘Mike’ doesn’t help very much. Yes, you are a valuable customer, but so are the other 50 Joe’s we have. First and last name please.
When I ask if you have a business name, saying ‘he/she knows me’ doesn’t help either. We don’t ask to be nosy, we ask because we have to.
4.) Your lack of planning doesn’t make it my emergency.
You have that paper sitting on the counter and it’s something you know needs to be taken care of but you put it off for a few days. Next thing you know, the due date is now. It’s very irritating when people expect me to work late or to bump them to the front of the line because they need something done ASAP. We know that you’ve had that letter for a month…
And if the situation does arise where you’ve dropped the ball in taking care of your business, at least be nice about it.
5.) Listen for the lunch bell.
It’s a figurative lunch bell in my case, but when it’s time for lunch I’m hungry and I need a break! I appreciate it when customers call and ask what time my lunch break is… that’s awesome. But if you live 10 minutes away, call at 11:45, and I tell you I go to lunch from 12 to 1 – do not show up here at 11:58.
6.) “Open” means open and “Closed” means closed.
Please don’t show up here 30 minutes before we open and expect us to open the door and let you in. The hours are posted outside. You’ve jiggled the door handle and the door is locked. Why do you knock? It puts me in a very awkward position. Closed means closed.
It isn’t that I don’t want to help you, but please consider the fact that I might be the only one here. For my safety, I can’t unlock the door and let people in.
Part of being blessed is in making others lives blessed as well. So make a concerted effort each day to be kind to those who serve you.