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Thursday, May 1, 2014

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Want good service? Be a good customer

The Straits Times | Thursday, May 1, 2014

SINGAPORE - Part of my job as a management and service consultant involves visiting outlets in the food and beverage, retail and service sectors.

I have noticed that a significant number of customers, especially the younger ones, are showing less empathy and graciousness towards service staff ("Labour chief calls for nation of better customers"; yesterday).

How they behave reflects how they view these jobs, categorising them as lowly. It also reflects how their parents brought them up.

I urge customers to start exhibiting good customer traits before they can expect better service. Such traits include acknowledging and returning greetings, saying "thank you", making requests politely and even handing over money or credit cards into the hands of service staff instead of putting them on the counter.

We often complain whenever we do not get what we want, sometimes in front of our children. We must respect service staff by treating them with dignity and seeing what they do as a profession.

We could even include a module on being good customers in the Education Ministry's Character and Citizenship Education syllabus, or perhaps start job stints in the service industry for our young, to give them a taste of what it feels like to work in these jobs.

Let us strive to be good customers by showing a little graciousness and empathy to service staff.

Delane Lim

This article was published on April 29 in The Straits Times.

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