by Kyle Heinemann
Many yeas ago, when I was 15 and working in fast food….if you would have told me “Pay Attention!” since I would be learning valuable life lessons, I would not have believed you (to put it mildly). That job was purely income. Not for socializing, not so I could eat the food, not to be popular, just money. Today, many years later, I can see where I learned customer service: back at Dairy Queen.
Customer Service, to me, is one of those areas of work that everyone says “well, duh” it’s important. To really excel at it, translates to a big payoff. You can learn to serve your customers/clients so well that a) at the end of a project, they get what they really wanted, but maybe not what they initially asked for, or b) so happy they will tell their friends and colleagues, or c) so happy they congratulate your manager–and your manager remembers to compensate you accordingly when it’s bonus/raise time (wink wink).
In my high school job, I learned through repeat encounters, and at the guidance of the manager, to listen carefully to the customer and anticipate what they need. If I messed up on something, I would admit it, apologize, and offer them something in return…so they leave happy and return their business. Another thing I learned was to “repeat the order to ensure accuracy.” These are simple concepts. Yet, valuable to put into practice. Imagine going to an initial meeting, you listen to the client, go back to your desk, do some first drafts, only to present them at the next meeting and realize you and the client had a misunderstanding–you missed the mark. It happens.
It would be easy to let some lower-priority jobs slip, and focus on the priority jobs. Yet, it’s the communication about job status to that lower-priority client that shows them you still value their business. This is easy in theory, but can be hard to do on a regular basis in real life.
Now that I’m over 31, I feel somehow qualified to share this unsolicited “wisdom” with you. (And I’m nowhere near retirement!) The experiences I had over half my life ago have formed who I am today.
Farewell, BADG readers and authors. Thank you for the constant feeding of design “current events.”