Most of us have worked in a position where we had to deal with the public. Even if you haven’t, you’ve been in places where you were the public and someone was helping you as the customer to their place of employment. As far as I’m concerned, libraries, restaurants, stores, and other similar places are those in which you received services. These are great places because they allow us to receive the things that we need or want.
The problem is that some people don’t realize or have forgotten how difficult it can be to serve the public. Because we employ the belief that the “customer is always right,” we often allow ourselves to be rude, obnoxious, and downright mean to the very people who are trying to give us the best products and the best service experience at their employment.
Obviously, there are times when the customer IS right and when executed firmly and politely, the experience can right itself naturally. However, there are a lot of times when this isn’t the case. In order to have a good experience in a variety of venues, let’s be reminded of a few basic rules:
1. When asked for your I.D., don’t get angry and refuse to allow them to look at it.
Most businesses ask for an I.D. because it’s the most basic and valid way to determine that you are who you say you are. If you refuse to give your I.D. when asked and are rude about it, you’re making them believe that your faking your I.D.
2. Don’t run, cuss and argue loudly at each other.
This is probably self explanatory, but some people forget about it for some reason. If you run, you run the risk of knocking merchandise over, running into other people, or hurting yourself and others. Not to mention there are the elderly, babies, and the disabled who can’t get out of your way quick enough. Be nice, walk. And cussing and arguing with another customer, even if it’s a friend or family member is inappropriate. You’re disrupting others’ experience. Just don’t do it. If you do, don’t be mad if someone reprimands you for doing these things.
3. If the business is in the process of shutting down for the evening, please wrap up what you’re doing and leave.
I don’t know how other businesses process their closing procedures, but where I work we start making closing announcements thirty minutes before we lock up for the night. I can’t tell how many times people wait until five minutes before closing to come up to complete their check out and then get angry when the service provider isn’t going fast enough or there’s a problem with their account. If you know you have a lot of items to check out or there’s a problem with your card or account, please come up earlier so there’s plenty of time to figure it out. The people behind the desk want to go home too and making it difficult isn’t going to get them to finish any faster.
4. Don’t get mad at the provider if they can’t find something that you swear was there or that you returned.
I definitely have libraries in mind when it comes to this rule. Libraries have a specific procedure on how to check in items and get them out so others can easily find it for themselves. We make sure all the pieces are in the case before checking them in and we put everything (except for nonfiction) by alphabetical order. If you thought you returned something but the librarian shows you where it would’ve been if it accidentally got out without being checked in, don’t stand there and tell her that it’s somewhere in the library. Librarians don’t have time to “hide” things from you. We’re busy creating programs for you as a free service, we’re pulling all the requests you made so that you can easily pick it up at the front desk instead of looking for it yourself, we’re keeping things neat and tidy. There’s no room to “hide” the things you think we’re hiding.
5. Thank the provider at the end of the transaction.
Obviously, people who are working business are being paid to provide you with a service. But sometimes it feels like a thankless job, especially when it feels like they’re doing all the work and you just leave without acknowledging their effort. Just say “thanks” and that will be enough to make their day. It may be the only good thing that happens to them that day.