Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The art of customer service

I've spent a lot of my life working in the customer service industry. Years cashiering helped me realize how little people care about each other. When I worked at the bookstore people looked down on me for working there, yet it was my second job, and I worked there because I wanted to. I always found it interesting when people would give you attitude, and yet I was always polite and gave good customer service.

I distinctly remember one Christmas a lady coming in and asking for book on Alaska. I asked her if she wanted a travel book or a picture book or what, since there were 42,000 books on Alaska, most not in our store. She yelled at me, "What's wrong with you! I just want a book on Alaska." She went to another store, that later called us asking for a certain book on Alaskan fishing (cause yeah she was so specific, not) and we didn't have it. I asked the other CSR if it was the lady and they said it was. I wished them my condolences.

Now I've experienced some bad customer service in my life. Just recently I was waiting at the cutting counter at Joann's and there were two women at the counter. One who was working, cutting material for a customer, the other talking on the company phone to her boyfriend.

I guess not everyone understands that customer service is an art form and it applies to all aspects of life, not just standing at a counter. As a writer I know it's very important to treat all my readers as valued customers. Listen to what they say, but take it with a grain of salt since you can't please everyone. Really there are some basics of customer service:

1. The customer is always right. Even if they are stupid and obnoxious. Eventually they will leave the store and you will have nicer people to deal with.
2. Be ready to serve. Don't stand there talking to your friend and ignoring a customer. There is nothing that will piss of a person faster. And that's not good if you want them to come back.
3. You attract more flies with honey than vinegar. Be nice, even if they are asinine. As much as you might like to tell them how wrong they are, just smile and say okay. Again they will be gone soon enough.
4. Realize that you only matter as much as you make yourself matter. If you talk to every customer, offer them a smile, a welcome, they are more likely to leave in a good mood and less likely to snap at someone else.
5. Be strong in who you are, but understand when you put on your customer service hat you're serving others first.

In all honesty, customer service is one of the hardest jobs in the world. You have to deal with people. And we all know how moody, stupid, angry, annoying, insert word, people can be. If you can't do the above, stay away from customer service.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Treat Others as You'd like to be Treated yourself

My new job gives me a lot of inspiration, I guess. Not always in a good way. This morning I took the elevator down (should have taken the stairs) and the was a group of co-workers chatting about the bosses in a not good way. As a new employee that stuff is hard to hear cause I want to like my job, I want to like my boss.

So like my normal turtle self I stayed quiet, ignored the conversation. The elevator gets to the ground floor and there is said boss. I walk out feeling a little guilty for not saying anything to stop the conversation, but knowing it's really not my problem.

Once everyone had walked away from the boss they all started laughing and talking smack again. I hurried ahead, more intent on getting to my break than usual.

Now don't go cringing, but I consider myself a Christian. I was going to become a pastor years ago, however it was the way the church treated people that made me leave. It was the way the world treated people. Not the way I believe God or Jesus or whatever divine power would treat people. It reminds me of the whole treat others as you'd like to be treated yourself.

I'd like to be left alone, so I leave others alone. I'm polite when I need to be, but I avoid people so they avoid me. It's a happy medium. I can't help but wonder if those folks talking in the elevator like when people talk crap about them. I guess if that's how you act, then that's what you're gonna get. And I just have one word to say to that. Amen.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Decadence Release

all right, all, new and last free read until after the Sept 14th release of Inheritance from DSP. So get your Gabe and Sei fix while you can.

For vampire Gabriel “Gabe” Santini, being in love with the only trained male witch in a female dominant society is not an easy thing. Seiran Rou has more issues than just a phobia of commitment. A recent rash of attacks and harassment at school has left him withdrawn and edgy.

Making a cake for his mother was never really about making Tanaka Rou happy, and Seiran wears his heart on his sleeve as he tries, yet again, to please her. But Gabe has an idea how to put a much needed smile on Sei’s sweet face. Starting with “helping” make the frosting and showing Sei that pastry can be more than a little decadent...

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Feeling Lucky

So the past few weeks have been rough. I quit my job of six years to take a new position at a job I thought I'd like more. And we all know how day jobs are. They get us the money we need to survive. However, I went from weekly paychecks to bi-monthly, so I'm struggling. Took a lot out of my savings. And am staring at my stack of bills thinking oh God, how will I get this done?

A girl from work walked with me down to the breakroom and said, "Hey, you know my sister, she's been living with us for a while, not working, not looking for work. Just there?"

I'm like, "Yeah." We both have these relatives in our lives.

My co-worker says, "She told me she was feeling lucky yesterday while we were at the gas station and asked me for $20. So I gave it to her. And she bought a lottery ticket."

I was like okay.

"She won $100,000."

Holy crap! Talk about fortune. I asked my co-worker if she was asking for any of the money since it was her $20 that paid for the ticket, and she said no. Talk about generocity.

I had to wonder how I'd react to such a windfall. Or if my sister got such a lucky break from something I'd given her. I don't think I'd demand anything back from it other than gratitute. She needs it more than me, since she's not working and has four kids.

Everyday we look at our own lives and grumble about the crappy hands we're dealt. But what about the small things that we are blessed with? How often do we look at those things and think "I'm feeling lucky"?

In truth I'm very lucky. I can afford to pay my bills and my rent and for food. Sometimes it's a struggle, but I have a beautiful home, I do hobbies freely. I don't have to work two jobs. I'm not sleeping under a bridge or starving every night. I will be a published author soon as I'm just proofing the galley for my first novella Inheritance. And I have a lot of great friends I've made over the years that support me and all my weird ideas.

If someone were to ask me today, do I feel lucky? I'd have to say yes. I feel damn lucky. I hope the rest of you can say so as well, because I'm so lucky to have you. :)