I was recently in a large department store doing some shopping. I was primarily looking for a suit, and there was a whole section of the store dedicated to mens’ formalwear. As I walked towards the area, there appeared to be a good selection on display. Within a minute or so of me starting to browse the suits, a young man appeared who worked there. He was smartly dressed, probably in his early 20s, and asked immediately if I needed any help. He then diligently set about finding me what I needed. He took me through all the available suits, what looked good and what didn’t, and was very honest in his assessment. Sure enough, I found some great suits that were the right fit (he was keen to see me after I tried them on and make sure they measured correctly). I ended up buying two great suits in the end! The service I received was top notch. But what left an impression on me wasn’t just a generalized notion of “good service”, but the way this young man conducted his job and took complete ownership of his department. Here’s 5 things he did right:
1.He knew his department inside and out
He had complete knowledge of all the suits in the department, their styles and pricing. This was reassuring to me as a customer and instilled a sense of faith that I was being helped by someone who knew what they were doing.
2.He owned his department
From the outset, he kept describing it as “my department” and saying that he would see what “I have”. When it came to discussing pricing, since sales were on, he then said that he would see what further price discounts were available and what “I can do for you”. It was never about the store’s department or the store’s deals—it was about him helping us.
3.He was energetic and enthusiastic
I was being served with high energy and enthusiasm. I also saw and heard him with other customers while I was doing other things, including trying on suits and browsing other options. Even when another customer was expressing their dissatisfaction with a particular suit, he was enthusiastically suggesting alternatives.
I spent quite a bit of time in the store, and it was getting rather busy. He did not get flustered or seem overwhelmed with how many people needed his attention. Most importantly of all, he never tried to rush his customers.
5.He was not a salesman
The young man took pride in what he did. He wanted me to get the best possible suit at the best possible deal. He didn’t want me to buy the most expensive one, and at one stage was telling me that one of the more costlier suits wasn’t necessarily the best choice for me. He was transparent and had no hidden agenda other than to serve me well.
While I was in the store, other people were coming into the department wanting his attention to pick out a good suit—some who clearly knew him from before. This wasn’t necessarily the most high-end, exclusive, or famous clothes store either. These folks who were coming in to see him, did so because they wanted his service and were confident that he would deliver. From what I saw on that day, I can only assume that young man will be a success in whatever field he chooses because of his impeccable attitude and customer service skills.
My experience that day reinforced the above 5 key traits of great service: knowledge, ownership, enthusiasm, composure, and sincerity. Whether you are a department store assistant, a financial adviser or even yes, a physician—the same rules apply. It’s hardly ever about your organization or your shiny corporate logo. Obviously, you need to be working in a half-decent place with a good product and infrastructure. But he was his own brand, had the right skills to serve people well, and would take these skills anywhere with him. He was clearly enjoying himself, and the work was more about the people he was serving than what he was actually doing. A key ingredient not just for success, but also job satisfaction.