Many Wonkie readers would agree that good customer service is a rare find in South Africa. On a recent trip to New York, Wonkie discovered that the traditional unfriendly grumpiness of everyone from airport staff to fast food dispensers is far from being just a South African joy. In fact, there appears to be a worldwide conspiracy. There is a trade union of sorts which determines with some rigour how low service levels must be maintained.
This trade union is a mysterious one. Nobody pays any dues but members seem to be fiercely loyal to the code of conduct. After deeper investigation, Wonkie discovered some of the union rules and the inspiring reasons behind them:
1. Use as few words as possible as this conserves energy. For example, instead of How may I help you? say What you want? Using fewer words means less energy is spent speaking and less greenhouse gases are being emitted;
2. Frowning uses dozens of facial muscles and smiling takes much fewer. So do neither of those and instead stare blankly at the customer. This will help reduce wrinkles on your face as you grow older. This rule does not apply when your boss is watching – regardless of whether they are a member of the union or not;
3. Limit interaction with customers. This will minimise a potential cause of anxiety which may lead to the need for expensive anti-depressants;
4. Move slowly. Fast action increases your contribution to global warming so do it for the children;
5. Act like you’re doing the customer a favour by serving them because you are. If you were not there to do this favour, they would be running around lost in the train station or dying of starvation;
6. Complete as many of your personal conversations and gossip sessions during working hours. This saves communication bandwidth after hours which is important in case there is a terrorist attack and you need to use your phone, for example;
7. Gather around the cashier/ till area and snigger in small groups. The additional energy generated by the small gathering keeps the cash machine warm and ensures that it calculates the bill correctly;
8. Take your time delivering the bill. This shows customers that you don’t want them to leave and will result in you getting big tips;
9. Grunt disapprovingly if anybody asks you for information. You should do this regardless of whether it’s your job to answer that type of question or not. This grunting interaction acknowledges the customer’s need at a very deep, subconscious, primal level and will immediately reassure the customer that you know their question is important. The Harvard research confirming this hypothesis is pending; and
10. Don’t display anything but the most basic knowledge about the products you sell. Your sacrifice will encourage customers to do their own research online and give them the resources to make their own decisions. Not only are you helping skill your customers, you are also preventing their mental decay by allowing them to exercise their brains.
If you know of any further customer service rules, please feel free to add them in the comments section below.
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