Since I work in the service industry, I think a lot about customer service. Recently there was an article in Roast Magazine about customer service– I read it expecting a suave article full of tips and tricks, but what it boiled down to was very basic stuff that I learned in my first and second service-based jobs. It seemed too simple for Roast.

So I’ve been mulling over my personal philosophy on customer service. You’ve all heard that the customer is always right? I disagree. The customer may not always be right, but their needs always come first.

That, of course, applies to paying customers. If someone comes in, sits down, and comes back to me whining that the internet doesn’t work when they haven’t bought anything, my level of caring is at about zero percent.

In particular, a lot of baristas get into a rut of thinking that customers are idiots, because they aren’t trained in coffee. While this may be right in some cases (oh, the stories I could tell you,) it doesn’t make it okay to treat paying customers like they’re dumb. They just haven’t learned things yet, and you have the opportunity to teach them. I touched on this in a blog several months ago, and I stand by what I said then. Baristas, don’t condescend, and customers, don’t be rude.

However, there is one thing I feel like you all need to know about my job. When I greet a customer, I set a pleasant tone to the conversation. You, with your response, then set the tone for the entire interaction. If you’re rude to me after I’ve been nice to you, it’s going to be very, very difficult for me to be any more than polite.

That’s what I’ve been thinking about today. Hope you all had great Thanksgivings!

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