In the customer service industry, it’s important to put yourself in your customer’s place. Think about a time when you’ve had to wait to be served. Whether it’s a restaurant, doctor’s office, auto shop, theme park or concession stand, it can be a painfully slow process; one that can bring out the best or worst in people. Playing the waiting game is often all about attitude – yours and theirs. Here are some tips for serving more than one customer at a time.
Acknowledge your guests. Make eye contact and explain that you are currently serving another guest but that you will be with them momentarily. If possible, let them know how long their wait may be.
If possible, ask for help from your teammates. Inform the customer that you are currently assisting another guest at the moment but that your co-worker will be glad to help them with their needs.
Remain calm and in control of the situation. When you are overwhelmed, it’s important to maintain your composure. Keep a cheerful, courteous and respectful attitude. If possible, offer specific information to guests about their wait but don’t blame it on late co-workers or scheduling conflicts.
Be available in a timely manner. When you have customers waiting patiently, make sure to respect their time and assist them as soon as possible.
Your guests come first. If your work involves being away from the floor, such as working in a stockroom or kitchen area for part of the time, prioritize front-of-house customers over any other responsibilities. From your guest’s perspective, it is frustrating when members of the staff disappear while they are still waiting.
Inform guests as a group when possible. If you have information that could benefit a group of guests, speak up so more people can hear it. For example, “We are out of french fries,” can be shared with the entire lobby of guests rather than to each individual guest as they place an order.
Throw in something extra. While a guest waits patiently, extend a small gesture of gratitude. Whether it’s a free beverage, quarters for the jukebox, a coupon for a future discount or a genuine smile, people are pleasantly surprised to receive something unexpected. The gesture doesn’t have to be large to be effective.
Always apologize for the wait. Apologize to each guest individually. Thank them for their patience.