Friday, May 05, 2006

Customer Service

I always learn so much from my students. Recently, as I was reading a written homework assignment, I received a piece of customer feedback. You see at the end of our Certified Networker class we have a graduation celebration. It certainly is a time to honor the newest members of our growing community. Seasoned grads take on many of the responsibilities of the event, including the registration table. It is an event where we also welcome visitors.

So here's where the important feedback comes in. The assignment was for the student to attend any networking event and then write about their experience. The student reported on our graduation held several months ago. She came by herself and it was a challenge for her to walk in. But she did. What happened, according to her perception, was that she was welcomed, and instructed how to sign in, but then the two people at the registration table resumed their personal conversation, ignoring her plight in doing so. Ouch!

Our usual way of doing things, is for a roaming grad to take visitors under their wing, move them to the name tag area, and introduce them to others. Maybe all that happened, but from the visitor's point of view it didn't. Even so, she registered in this most recent class. She now feels much more comfortable attending networking events because of some techniques she has learned.

We have a graduation coming up on the 23rd of this month. We have three classes of students to be honored. We will have many guests. It will be a challenge to be sure that all guests feel included and welcome. But you can bet that I will ask the seasoned Certified Networkers how they think they can make it happen.

When did you get unexpected feedback about your customer service? Were you up to snuff or was it a wake-up call?

1 comment:

nick nigro said...

I read a great dreal of information about customer service with interest to what they are saying. What I know is that there is a wide spectrum of what people call customer service. Bottom line for me is that it's about hospitality. Welcoming people and making them feel at home is the hallmark of good service and networking success. When I experience that feeling, then I want to engage in conversation and come back another time. When I don't feel welcomed, I will look someplace else. Regardless of whether the person we are meeting is a potential referral partner or not, our ability to greet and hold conversation focused on just that person is critical. Being interested and willing to invite them in to a conversation are qualities that every networker ought to have in his or her toolbox. The information we receive from that person will give us helpful clues about how we want to proceed with this relationship and to whom we may want to introduce this person. Wear your hospitality to every event and to every conversation. In my mind, each opportunity is exactly that - an opportunity. When you have experienced genuine hospitality, you know how it makes you feel.