Lately I find myself fascinated with customer service and how to improve my own performance when it comes to dealing with customers and the people that we are around everyday.
So I turned to my sister this afternoon and I sat her down for a quick question and answer session to see what she thought about customer service.
My sister, Reylia Slaby, is a professional photographer who has quite an impressive resume’. She also helps out at a restaurant in down-town Osaka called Bistro New Orleans. Because of her current situation in having to build relationships with people daily, I thought she would be a good person to start off this mini series with.
I have my own photography business, and I also do a bit of restaurant work. Seeing how customer service works in my own photography business is a bit more subtle, but in the restaurant it is obvious how it comes into play.
Is there anything that you have learned at the restaurant when it comes to dealing with a customer?
Because customer service is so emphasized in Japan, there aren’t too many things I’ve learned yet that I didn’t know before starting. Things like presentation, packaging, and the rhythm of the work were new skills that I learned, but when it comes to customer service I feel like there are things that are just a given. It’s obvious what good service is.
When it comes to the customers, what are some thoughts that you have while working?
I want people to feel comfortable, relaxed, and to have a good time. I want people to have good memories in the restaurant.
Is it difficult to be genuine in a job where you go through the same patterns each day?
I think you can be bored, tired or rundown, but the workers can still be genuine even if the job becomes routine. Customer service works in other directions too. It’s about making people feel good. It’s not limited to the customers either, but the workers in those jobs also have to feel well-treated as respected. It’s all about creating an atmosphere of harmony.
People wonder why service can below par these days, but one culprit I believe is that the inner workings and philosophies of the companies are negative and quite possibly corrupt. So many companies these days don’t value a healthy working ethic, and settle to hire those whose work performance they know to be lazy or poor.
It’s also important to cultivate kindness in the workspace. Everyone should give encouragement.
It’s a shame that we have this idea that we can’t have friends at work or we can’t be friends with our bosses. I don’t think that working hierarchy should exist.
Changing the topic slightly, but what do you think about the company Buffer?
It sounds amazing and like something you would be good at. I believe that you do cultivate good feelings and the person across from you feels cared for.
Do you think their transparency policy helps?
It helps a lot. It’s hard to be honest, especially for a company. In fact, its almost impossible for a company to be 100% honest these days. So I give them tops.
What do you think I personally need to work on?
You are good at diving into something and giving it your whole heart. But, once you’ve reached where you believe to be the top, you move to something different. If it doesn’t continue to satisfy or fulfill you, you move on to other things that will. I believe that this trait can be used to a companies advantage, although.
What is one quote that comes to your head right now? Any quote related or non-related is fine!
Very unrelated, but one quote I like these days is that “Art is not a healer, it’s an x-ray that helps you to understand pain.”