Walt Disney said, “Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.” That sentence is the baseline for enthusiasm in customer service.
For years, I have been an observer of customer service — everywhere I shop and everywhere I go. I’ve been to businesses where I’m sure that employees think that customer service is a “department” that doesn’t belong to them, and to businesses where the enthusiasm for making customers happy is visible the minute you enter the door. The bottom line is that a company’s bottom line depends on customer service that is full of attitude and enthusiasm.
On a recent Saturday noon hour, my husband Dave and I, while shopping at a nearby mall, went to a fast food sandwich shop to grab a bite. When we arrived there was a line to place orders and we noticed that there was just one person doing everything from taking and making orders to checking people out at the register. I watched as we waited our turn at the counter and saw that Scott, the lone worker, never lost his smile or his total service attitude. Even though the line kept building, his enthusiasm led to everyone waiting patiently to be served. It was clear that he likes his job — he could have been the business owner because he demonstrated that kind of purpose. He owned his job.
Enthusiastic people are full of energy that spills over to all the people with whom they come in contact. Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich and other classic business books, said, “Enthusiasm is a state of mind that inspires and arouses one to put action into the task at hand. Enthusiasm bears the same relationship to a human being that steam does to a locomotive … it is the vital moving force that impels action.”
Enthusiasm can’t survive in a negative environment. In my research I’ve seen front-line workers whose attitude shows how much they resent that they have to be at work. This kind of work dissatisfaction is a turn off for customers. As many as 68% of customers quit patronizing a business because of perceived indifference toward them. They don’t care that the service person had a bad morning, or that he or she wanted to spend the day with friends. Customers expect a positive attitude every time they decide to spend their money with a business. Being part of a front-line service team might be compared to being an actor — the show must go on, no matter the feelings the actor is having.
Enthusiasm is also one of the most attractive qualities a person can have. Enthusiastic people make interactions and relationships more interesting and more fun. Their voices and body language show that they enjoy their work and that they are happy to serve their customers.
In today’s challenging marketplace, price is not the only thing that matters in finding and keeping customers. A blog I read recently talked about putting a sign in the business window that said, “We give lousy service, but we’re cheap.” I believe that people want to spend their money where they have confidence that they will get their money’s worth and where their business is appreciated.
Employee enthusiasm is a key part of a great customer experience. Enthusiasm starts with leadership. Team members are more enthusiastic about their work when they know they are appreciated by employers, and when they are encouraged to grow in their positions. Enthusiasm begins at the top.