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Friday, 21 November 2014

Service with, or without a smile.

Good service is something I am always surprised at and this is a sad indictment of our world today. We should be appalled by bad service, not expect it, but this is how life has become. Despite high standards being demanded by business proprietors, the staff on the ground just do not deliver.

After working in retail, catering and childcare before I decided that admin was a better path for me, I know the pressure put on staff, the bad conditions and the low wages. Having also worked in the personnel department of a large supermarket, I am well aware of the standards expected by the owners of businesses. They put pressure on the people below them and that goes all the way to the people on the ground. They, in turn, take it out on the customers with bad service and bad attitudes. The expectation of what each staff member can do will often be far more than is possible and this comes about by companies cutting staff budgets while trying to increase productivity and profits.

There will always be hard workers among the staff in an organisation and they tend to take up the slack of the people who don't care, can't be bothered or are so demoralized that they do the minimum they can. Sadly though I have found that doing any job, however bad, to the best of your ability, is ultimately far more rewarding than doing a job badly. Your sense of pride should make you want to do a good job and it also makes your working day go faster.  A good work ethic is always a good example to the people around you and your children too.

I am sure there are many people working in jobs they hate who have been ground down  by the day to day issues they face combined with problems which are not work related., however , that is not the fault of the customer. If you go into a business, whether it be a retail business, your doctors surgery or travelling on public transport, you expect to be treated decently. However badly my day is going I know that I have to slap on a smile and treat each patient in a decent manner. Being polite costs nothing, smiling costs nothing, treating people with respect also costs nothing. There are rewards for treating other people in a decent manner, knowing you have helped someone is a good feeling. I know it is hard when you are at work and someone decides to be rude to you because you cannot deliver the impossible or they had a bad day, but you have to rise above it.

I have had some fantastic service and always make a point of giving positive feedback. For example, Specsavers in Guildford always give good service and cannot do more to help the customer. When I broke my glasses leg in my lunch break, which was totally my own stupidity, they had four members of staff finding a leg that would fit and they did it free of charge. On another occasion I was given a free spray and cloth when I asked for advice on the why the coating needed so much cleaning. These little things mean that I always recommend them to people.

Boz's Fruit and Veg in Woking opened this year and their service is brilliant. The quality of stock, the prices and the service of every staff member is fantastic. it is a simple enterprise but it works as they concentrate on those three key elements. (A good product, a fair price and a very high level of service.)

The third example of a high standard of service was in fact in Ogilvy's in Woking. I went there for lunch with my Dad for my birthday. The food was delicious, there was a lovely atmosphere and, most importantly, the waitress was brilliant. They had one member of staff serving all the tables. She had to take the orders, deliver the food, deal with any queries, present the bill, clear the table and get the table ready for the next diners. She did this with speed, efficiency and a smile. There were no mistakes made and she was friendly and polite the whole time.

These examples do show that it is possible to deliver top level service in all jobs. You can rise above the rubbish that is thrown at you on a daily basis and treat people how you would like to be treated.

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