It’s unbelievably hot outside this summer. Trust me, I understand. But don’t let your mood fester along with that week-old banana peel you left outside on your deck. This is especially crucial when going to work.
Coming from someone who has worked outdoors for a summer job, I know how easy it is to bend to the will of the glaring sun and 80% humidity. Normal tasks become increasingly difficult in the heat of July, and you are left wondering how you were ever able to say “Have a nice day!” with a smile instead of a sneer.
This is especially important if you encounter the occasional rude customer. In such trying times, you remember that you were taught to be calm, polite, and know that they will associate your face with the company in the future. Maintaining your composure can take a lot of patience and self-control, two things of which you seem to lose in the mid-summer heat wave.
But if you lose grip on your emotions, and tell that sharp-tongued customer what you actually think, the negatives will outweigh the positives. Sure you’ll feel better, and they might leave you alone, but chances are they’ll cause trouble elsewhere. In fact, they may go straight to your boss and explain in detail where you said they could stick their complaints. Yikes!
Instead, fight against your waning patience, and use your remaining hospitality to try and help the customer, or kindly direct them to your manager if the situation calls for it. It only takes one bad experience for some people to turn away from a business. And if that person is turned off enough by it, they can share their tale with other people, or worse, the whole internet.
There may come some people or situations that are out of your dome of control, and those aren’t worth worrying about (as long as you’ve done your best, of course). However, if you know there are ways in which you can act in order to improve the situation, you should do so. Even if it’s so hot all you want to do is punch out of work and lay by the pool with your favorite summer playlist. Even if the sweat seems to be running down your face faster than the first lap of the Indy 500 pace car. Even if you haven’t had your lunch break yet and the job is short-staffed on the busiest day of the year. It’s hard, no doubt, but it will most likely lessen the damage.
But in general, it costs nothing to be nice.
It’s an important skill to remain calm in the hardest of situations, but good customer service is a value that all companies should stress to employees. Most customers are kind, gracious, and often enjoyable to work with, but someday you might encounter a sour one in the crop.
And if you can scrummage up a smile in the midst of a yelling storm by an outraged customer, then you can easily tell someone to have a great day, and mean it.