To deliver great customer service – listen and remember

I think too many waiters have listening problems. For the last few days, I have been traveling and have spent two meals a day dining in different restaurants. Last night at dinner, I asked for a Caesar salad with the dressing and anchovies on the side. The salad came with the dressing and anchovies already tossed. Today at lunch, I asked for a diet coke with a slice of lemon and I just got the soda. When I asked the waitress to bring me a slice of lemon, she brought me a slice of lime.

We hear sounds around us such as cars going by, people talking at the next table, and babies crying, but we don’t make much sense of these noises until we interpret what we are hearing. Our memory then comes into play when we recall exactly what we just heard which becomes  the basis of listening. There is no limit on what we can remember since memory isn’t passive, and it might serve a positive purpose if employers were able to help employees with their memory skills. Just think of the immediate improvements if both listening and memory skills were addressed in practical methods easily applicable.

To remember effectively, we must actively associate what we hear with something else. We forget because we are unable to retrieve a memory or one memory, as in the waiter’s case, interferes with another memory. An easy way to remember is to visualize concepts using mnemonic devices such as memory tricks, acronyms, nonsense words, nonsense sentences and even rhymes. If we can show someone how to perhaps associate a ridiculous image with an order as in the Caesar salad order, the waiter could get the order right, save time and deliver better customer service.

Imagine visualizing the salad as a huge green tree and the anchovies as fallen twigs blowing away from the tree by a strong wind. A snow storm is not expected until later in the day. There you have it! The salad is by itself; the anchovies are separate and the dressing is not to be on the salad until later. And as to the diet soda, could you imagine the image of a fizzy brown bottle with a huge yellow sun bonnet? I bet you would remember the lemon then.

Each waiter would be able to come up with their own memory helpers and before long some of the listening problems would be eliminated and customer service improved.

photo credit: karinmanske