The Mikuska Group  

Talking to Americans

I recently returned from a vacation in the U.S., in California and Arizona. While it was wet in California, it was warm and the precipitation that fell didn’t need to be shovelled! In Arizona it was dry, sunny and warm.

Aside from the weather, what strikes me every time I travel to the U.S. is the warmth and openness of the people. They are friendly, helpful and welcoming. I’m not saying those attitudes are universal (road rage, anyone?) but enough to be remarkable to reserved Canadians.

What is also evident is their approach to customer service. In many retailers and restaurants, big and small, they greet you, ask how they can help and find the right person to do so. In our hotel, they called to ask if the room was to our liking, and came to the room as we were leaving to ensure we had a great stay.

It’s evident that great customer service takes not just great attitude, but training and above allĀ permission. Employees are encouraged to take ownership in helping customers and solving problems. If they’re not the right person, they find the right person, making sure you are taken care of before they leave you. You feel you’ve been well served, especially if they’ve been sincere.

Instead of customers, think of your clients and donors. Think also of people in other departments – internal customers.

Does your leadership give permission and training in how to greet and treat them? How can you improve the experience so everyone feels well served?

Julie Mikuska


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