Having spent the last month in Europe it is no surprise that your experience is enhanced or diminished by the people you meet and as you travel – the customer service (or lack thereof that you receive).For some people customer service comes naturally, they go above and beyond without trying. For others you can sense the customer service training they have received by their wise employers.
I think one of the challenges in Australian retailing remains that people do not see retailing as an ‘honourable’ vocation. It is something that you do while you study / wait for a better opportunity /move up the ladder. In Switzerland, if a shop assistant is something you aspire to, you can begin training in that vocation from year 9 (around 15 years old), whilst also studying. And when you are out shopping – you can tell that these people are trained and also happy with their vocation of choice.
When customer service is effective the sales ‘transaction’ does not feel so. You are pleased to hand over your payment and are likely to come back or recommend the place to your friends.
Customer service skills are life skills. The ability to connect with others, understand their needs and help them fulfil them. Now that is an honourable task!