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We keep speaking of the importance of the customer but do people who deliver service really care? Is the communication of your staff customer oriented? Do they radiate willingness to be of service? Unfortunately, fairly often I find this is not the case.

At a public sector bank recently I went through the hassle of paying my quarterly Service Tax. The unfriendliness of the staff has to be seen to be believed. They act as if we the customers are actually disturbing them at their work. Yes, I realize he has to tally his accounts but can’t he do it after answering my queries and finishing my work. He counted a wad of notes, then put them in the couting machine. In three tries he got three different answers which did not make his surly mood any better. He then did one more manual count before giving it up as a bad joke and pushing all the notes into a large drawer.

The vibes that radiated from him were: You may think you are a big shot but here I am the boss. I like to see people like you queue and curse while I call the shots. I do things at my pace. Without me, your work can’t get done. The sooner you realize it, the better!
You can either give all the information the other person needs or restrict yourself to answering questions. A recent conversation went somewhat like this:

“Are all the features covered by warranty”

“If you pay extra”

“How much extra should one pay”

” Depends. May be 10 % ”

“Will this be delivered at home?”

“If you want it to be”

“You never said this could be done”

“You never asked”.

How much better would it be if the person gives the salient features of the scheme and then encourages you to ask questions and clarify doubts. ” This product is covered by warranty which is considered adequate by most people. A few may ask for special coverage which would cost them about 10 % more depending on the features covered. We offer free delivery at home. It will be our pleasure to deliver it by 7 p.m. this evening.

The brochure is self-explanatory. If you have any queries after going through it, please call me. My name is XYZ and my phone no. is 1234 456 789.

Is this wishful thinking? I am sure it can happen because dammit that guy is a customer himself. He too goes shopping. He too has bills to pay.

It just needs him to be more sensitive to the needs of customers- who bring him business they can quite easily choose to take elsewhere.

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This is the 116 th of the “A Step A Day” series : To provide perspective and provoke thought to facilitate self-development across a wide spectrum of issues- big and small- crucial for executive success