The only reasons you report daily to your organisation is because of customers. Your daily duty is therefore to attract, serve and retain customers with the aim of meeting your organisation top and bottom line goals. You are all at the service of our customers from shareholders up to the gateman. The customers are the most important guests in your organisations and they are the reason you exist. Your organisation will close its gates the day your customers stop coming to your organisation.
Why keep customers waiting at reception
You should not keep your customers waiting at the reception without any explanation to them. I have been in some organisations on appointment to buy their goods and services and I have been made to wait at the reception without any explanation. The most annoying thing is when staff were passing me as if I did not exist. In some organisations people are served on the basis of technical know who and not first come and first serve. When I am in this situation I invoke my rights as a customer and demand to be served immediately and I threaten to walk away with my money to somewhere else for better service. I am normally served immediately with apologies. The truth I normally do not go back to these organisation unless I have nowhere else to go. Do not make customers wait at your reception without any explanation. Deploy more people in case the turn-up is quite high.
Providing customer service through the phone.
I have called some people in the organisation for service using the telephone lines. I always first greet and introduce myself to the telephone operator and then I ask to be connected to the person I want. I then get a rude shock when I am asked my name meaning the operator was not keenly listening when I introduced myself. There is normally a lot of delays and on majority of times a message comes back that so and so is either in the meeting or not around. I always leave a message to be called back. Very few receptionists do remember to call back people who left a request to be called. Remember your purpose in the organisation is not to attend meetings and training but to attend to customers. Remember to call back all those who called you while you were either in meetings or training.
Establish a customer care centre or lounge
I normally get disappointed with organisations who don’t value their clients. Their receptions are not properly arranged to receive customers as the faculties as just basic. It is quite disappointing when you find a very important person waiting or standing at the reception waiting for service. Why don’t you create a customer service centre where customers sit comfortably while waiting to be served? For sure customers are human beings with common sense and they will wait if the delay is explained to them but at your cost. The airlines and a number of service companies know quite well. You have to put your customers in a comfortable place where you serve them with tea, water and light snacks. The centre should be equipped with newspapers, magazines, TV and other facilities to charge phones and to access internet among others.
Do not imprison your customers through comfortable waiting strategy
Providing comfortable facilities for your customers to wait does not mean you hold them at ransom. You have to continuously update them of the progress with their requests. The staff who are handling customers should be fast enough in clearing the queue of people waiting to be served. Management should be concerned if there is a long queue of customers waiting to be served as it may be a red flag for inefficiency.
John Muhaise Bikalemesa
Director: Big Drum Advisory Services Limited