Reading The Room

Over the past few years, some clever person at Starbucks decided that it would be a great idea to ask people their names when they place an order for a drink in their stores. They mark the cups and make the experience personal – if you like that kind of thing. Personally, I find it uncomfortable. I don’t want to share my name – it’s mine. I just want a coffee.

Now you could argue that I am a miserable git (and many do). You could also argue that it’s counter-intuitive to suggest that a friendly gesture is simply customer service.

But, customer service is not prescriptive.

The sales process is not prescriptive.

There is always nuance.

If you can not read the room or want to deal with everyone in a way that makes it simple for you, it’s the opposite of good customer service. It’s disingenuous. Some customers may be outgoing; some may be shy. Some may want to share; some may be guarded.

Good customer service is about detail and feedback. It is about personality and reading situations accordingly. But let’s not confuse that with a forced process.