My son, who is 14, just had his first job interview at the local pool. It’s a summer job that entails cleaning locker rooms, changing out the garbage, and other menial tasks. He was thrilled to get an interview, and even more thrilled when they hired him on the spot.
Later that night we were talking about the interview – did he make good eye contact, shake the interviewer’s hand, speak slowly and clearly, and give thoughtful answers? As he shared some of the questions and his responses, I was not surprised that he was hired on the spot.
The one that stood out to me the most was his answer to the question, “If hired, why do you think you have a responsibility to keep the locker rooms and pool grounds clean?” Before he shared his answer, I tried to guess what a 14 year old might say. Typical responses may be, “Because that’s what I will be hired to do” or “because I’m a responsible person and will do what is expected of me” or something along those lines.
My son’s response was interesting, and one that employees who provide customer service should follow. He simply explained that he would put himself in the pool guests’ shoes – what would he like to see when visiting the pool? He’d like a clean, well maintained place to enjoy the day. If that’s what guests would like, then he would need to provide that as a support staff member.
He makes a good point – as an employee who provides a service or interacts with customers, it’s wise to put yourself in the customer’s shoes. How would they like to be treated? Will their experience be different if you smile and make a bit of pleasant conversation as they are making a purchase? If someone couldn’t answer a question for you, which would you prefer – a curt, “I’m not sure, sorry I can’t help” or “I’m not quite sure, but let me find you someone that can help?”
Sometimes we don’t think of the customer and what they are experiencing through their interactions with us. Other times we may think our work is menial and doesn’t make a difference in the big picture of the company. But, as my son realizes, it does – a clean locker room, in his opinion, can affect a guest’s experience, and as a new employee, he will work to make sure it is as he would like to see it.
A very simple lesson, but a great way for staff to think as they go about their workday.