· Misc

Multi-Tasking Customer Service

If you have ever held a job in customer service, you have doubtlessly been put in a position where you felt you had to “Multi-task” customer service and daily tasks. Multi-task basically means taking care of more than one thing at a time. With the advances in technology throughout the years, the amount of work that employees are supposed to get done in a day has increased, but the time and money allotted for labor hours have gone down.  It often feels like a losing battle on the front lines.

We have all felt that we have not given our full attention or really gone above and beyond to “wow” a guest as the phone is ringing.  We've also seen a line up out the door and you are short a person because they called in “Sick.” Is it the guests'  fault? Do they deserve less service? Is it the employees' fault? We cannot prevent these situations, but we can talk about how to cope with them a little bit better.

When assisting multiple guests, the rule to remember is AAA; Acknowledge, Apologize & Appreciate each and every guest, each and every time.  The best way to service multiple customers is to remember that every customer deserves to be treated with respect and made to feel that his or her business is important to your organization.

Acknowledge can mean a variety of things to a customer service representative, but in this case, it means that we need to actually notice the customer. Whether that is through making eye contact with a smile, or answering the phone within the first 3 rings.  Even when you are busy – you must make sure that each guest is acknowledged in a timely way.  As a general rule, whomever you are helping first would take precedence, but there are always exceptions to that rule.

For example, If you receive a phone call while you are working with someone in person, make sure the caller knows you value their patronage, and get their name, phone number and offer to call them back within a specific amount of time. It is always important to set an expectation for a call back.  If you are asking someone to hold, asking their permission and waiting for their answer is a critical step to be remembered. “Please hold” is not acceptable for great customer service.
If you have a line up it is crucial to make sure you make eye contact with each customer in line and let them know that you will be with them shortly.
Ignoring customers in line, or letting the phone ring, will send a message to your valuable guests that they do not matter to your employees or to your organization.

Apologize to the customer:
A little empathy in customer service goes a long way. Taking the time to acknowledge the waiting or hold time, and that the customer hung in there is very important.  The time that that customer has waited in line, or on hold, is time that they will never be able to get back. If we are not apologetic, again, the customer will likely not want to spend their hard-earned money with us.  Do we like to wait in lines or on hold – no, of course not. Neither do your guests.
“I am so sorry for the wait.”
“I apologize that I had to place you on hold.”
“I am sorry that this took longer than you were expecting.”

Appreciate the customer:
Show your appreciation to the customer for their time, and patience. People today have many choices as to the services and places that they choose to spend their money. Never take even one customer for granted.
“I appreciate your patience.”
“I appreciate you waiting even though the line was quite long today.”
“I appreciate your time.”

Remembering the magic words that you learnt when you were young can also be very helpful when assisting more than one person. “Please”, “Thank you”, “Excuse me”, “Pardon me”, “I am Sorry” are valuable word tools.

It only takes a few words to show customers that you have good manners and this matters to them.

As long as we are going as fast as we can, and attempt to give the best service we can to each guest, customers will notice that and they will continue to come back time and again.

Alethea Porter
Regional Training Account Manager
Phone: 403-461-6590

Alethea Porter

Signature Canada is a leader in training employees to deliver legendary customer service while increasing sales. Since 1986, Signature’s unique training methodology has provided a measurable ROI for our customers, compelling them to return year after year. We offer Canadian companies, personalized, sustainable and measurable business and training solutions which contribute to optimize income by developing sales and service skills dedicated to create memorable experiences.