How to get the best service

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Most people believe that a hefty tip would get you excellent service. In reality, very often, it is not your tip but your image that gets you good or bad service. If people get the impression that you are a nice person, you would get better service. This article has been compiled from personal experiences, interviews with various hospitality industry professionals and the not so common thing called common sense.

Before demanding a service, the client should remember that the server is a person, a human being. The waitress, receptionist, attendant, or whoever you come across is a person with feelings, emotions, likes and dislikes just like us. Ask yourself the following questions. How do you treat someone you really dislike? How do you treat someone you like and respect? There is a big difference in the way you treat them, isn’t there? Suppose they both are your clients. Who would get a better service? Who would get the warmest smile? If you are a hotel receptionist, whom would you allocate the room with the panoramic view? Which one of the two clients would get the room with the squeaky bed and a leaking toilet situated just on top of a late night karaoke bar?

Hey wait a minute; why should I have to try to get the guy on the other side of the counter to like me. I am a paying customer and he should give me what I paid for. Actually, he gave you what you paid for, an executive standard double room, whatever that means. By the way, the room with the nice panoramic view is also of the same category. Fight him as much as you want, fill out as many complaint forms as you want or even call up his manager. All you can muster out of him would be a slightly better room or a room with a new set of defects. There is no way in the world that he is going to move the friendly couple out of the nice room for you.

Now why would he do this to me? What did I do to him to deserve this treatment? Oh, you forgot. You didn’t say hello when he said bonjour. You didn’t smile back at him. You were impatient on the line. And how about the way you talked to him. Of course, you weren’t rude but you weren’t polite either. You forgot but he didn’t and he wouldn’t.

The couple with the nice room with the panoramic view waited patiently in the line. They understood that all 20 persons coming out of the shuttle are just as tired from their journey as they are and everyone wants to be the first to check-in. The receptionist on the other hand is all alone on a Saturday evening covering for 2 girls on a sick leave. Unlike you, they didn’t complain when he let a couple with a crying baby cut the line. In fact, they complimented him for doing this. They smiled. They were polite. They were patient. The receptionist only saw them for few minutes but this convinced him to give them the best room available and this is just the beginning.

When you ask for directions to the museum, he says, go out the main door, make a left, walk seven blocks, turn right. When they ask the same question, he pulls out a map, circles, the hotel, circles the museum, suggests a trendy restaurant for lunch, advises them on the must see, must eat, must taste, and even tells them the best places to get a bargain. What a difference! He didn’t have to be so nice but he is because he likes them. The same goes for waiters and waitresses. If you want spit on your hamburger, be rude.

You get the point. So how do I get the room with the panoramic view.

* Smile
* Insist on what you want but politely
* Be patient. You are not the only customer
* Don’t tell him or her how to do their job, even if you feel that you must
* Complaining to managers, filling forms, etc is not a pleasant experience. Don’t do this unless you feel that you were mistreated
* Filling out the feedback or survey form is not complaining, per say. Always fill it. Most employers and employees take it seriously to improve their services. Use it to complement the persons who provided excellent service.

Don’t tell them that the customer is always right, unless you wish to insult them. When you tell the person serving you that the customer is always right, you are bound to bring out the worst in him. To him this translates into you telling him that he doesn’t know how to do his job and that you are doing him a favor by teaching him that he is a servant whose job is to do what you tell him to do. Ouch!

Customer is not always right everywhere. I once went to a trendy French restaurant and ordered something fancy. After the first bite, I asked the waiter for some salt. He replied by saying that the chef is qualified to know how much salt must be added. In other words, shut up and eat as the chef knows cuisine better than you. In many parts of the world, I would be offended to hear such a remark from a waiter. But I wasn’t as I realized that in French traditional restaurants, asking salt or mustard or ketchup or whatever suggests that the chef doesn’t know how to prepare my diner, thereby he is insulted.

When you are in someone else’s country, don’t expect them to do what you expect people in your hometown to do. And for God’s sake, don’t tell them the right way to do whatever they are doing (The right way of course is how it is done where I come from). Say this and you just told them that their culture, traditions, habits, etc. are wrong and that culture, traditions, and habits of folks in your hometown are superior.

How should I tip?
Ask anyone and they would give you figures and percentages. This answers the question, “How much should I tip” but this is not the question I asked. How you tip is more important than how much you tip. There is a difference between tipping and tipping with appreciation. Tipping by saying “keep the change” would get you a thank you. This is tipping. Tipping with appreciation requires a few more words and some feeling. Something like, “The dinner was delicious. Thank you. You can keep the change.” Next time you come around, she would try to get you a table even if you forgot to make a reservation. Everyone wants to be appreciated for their hard work. Few people in life would appreciate what you do and you would like the ones who do.

So what’s the formula to get the best service: smile, be polite, be patient, and appreciate a good service.

By the way, I used to be the guy who always got the worst service. Not anymore.

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Please feel free to publish this article, free of charge, as long as this resource box is visibly published. Copyright Nazim Rahman (c)

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