Being in a frontline role such as a receptionist, service counter, sale assistant or concierge, comes with enormous responsibility. These positions are the face of a business, often being the first and last point of contact for customers or clients, in which their perception of the service provided by the business overall is largely based on.
There are many skills a person can learn to be efficient and effective in these roles such as communication techniques, phone etiquette and complaint handling however, there are basic fundamental behaviours a person can apply with little to no formal training. They are simple and might seem like common sense however, they are at the core of providing a quality service experience each and every time. They are the six P’s; being present, patient, polite, professional, prompt and positive.
Being present means being fully engaged with customers or clients. Giving them full attention and showing interest with appropriate eye contact and actively listening without distraction.
Being patient is having an understanding that people operate at different paces when communicating and processing information. Being mindful of this and never showing frustration or annoyance.
Being polite with good manners never goes astray. “Please”, “thank you” and “you’re welcome” will always be magic words. It is also polite to avoid using technical or industry jargon, as the person may not always have this type of knowledge and could feel inadequate or become overwhelmed.
Being professional isn’t simply immaculate dress and grooming. It’s having a professional demeanor, leaving one’s personal problems at the door and not letting one’s mood negatively impact a customer. Complaining to or in front of customers or clients is unprofessional, as is criticising the business, management and the competition.
Being prompt is showing customers a sense of urgency but never making them feel rushed. Following up within suitable and promised time frames, shows a respect for people’s time.
Being positive starts with a smile. A popular saying is “a smile is part of the uniform”. This couldn’t be more accurate, with a smile portraying warmth and friendliness. Having a positive mindset communicated through facial expressions and tone of voice, is crucial in creating a positive upbeat vibe.
Anyone in a frontline or customer service position should keep the six P’s in the forefront of their mind in preparation for, as well as during each and every interaction with clients or customers. They are essentially choices a person makes in regards to their attitude and behaviour and are the foundation of a quality positive experience with a business.