National Customer Service week – let’s celebrate empathy

KatyalvadefreitasNext week (5-9 October) is National Customer Service Week, highlighting the important role customer service plays in business. We all know how great customer service makes us feel and in this week’s blog, receptionist Katy Alves de Freitas says we should remember that feeling and put ourselves in our guests’ shoes.

“I’ve always worked in ‘customer service’ based jobs, although I think all jobs involve customer service in one way or in other, and I’ve always been passionate about it.

For me, customer service is something personal and part of our everyday life. In order to be successful you have to be empathic. You should serve and treat clients as you would like to be treated and, of course, this applies to every aspect of our lives too.

Often we have extremely busy people visiting our building for very important meetings. As with many corporate offices, we have strict security processes in place for visitors and they don’t really have the patience to go through the conventional sign-in procedures.  When I first joined the team, I noticed some of these ‘impatient’ clients were coming very often and I realised they were actually regular visitors and if I were them I wouldn’t want to be going through the same process every time either.

So, I started to memorize their names and faces, their usual host, the way they liked to be treated, and it became my personal goal to make them feel special when they came to our building and to ‘make their day’.

After a few months I was able to recognise them as they walked from the revolving door. I would stand up, call them by their names and ask them to confirm their host. I’d print their pass in less than 30 seconds and they were thrilled. You could see the expression on their faces changing and they would smile back at me.

I’ve been doing this for a while now and I notice sometimes they will wait for their host at the reception desk, they’ll call me by my name and have a nice chat with me before going into the meeting.

The amazing thing is, I could turn around this difficult situation, and provide a great customer service, by just empathising with the customer.  This ‘customer service’ principle can be applied to every aspect of our lives. Being empathetic can change not only your day, but your colleagues’ and clients’ day and your work environment too.

So next time you have a client in front of you, no matter what mood you or they are in, just put your client hat on and think:

“If I was in their shoes, how would I like to be treated?”. Try to see them as a person just like you that sometimes just needs a smile to change their day.

Happy Customer Service week.”

Katy Alves de Freitas is a receptionist for Mitie Client Services based in London

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