There’s a saying about how everybody should work in customer service sometime in their life so they know what it’s like to be on the side of the employee. And I agree.
New Year’s is coming up and change is on everyone’s mind. Since the whole customer service worker experience might not happen to everybody, below, I’ve submitted eight guidelines to follow when a student is waiting for their food. I include both the good and the bad. We are peers, and I want to point out the bad that I hope promotes change, but also the good that I am grateful for and hope continues.
We Might Be in a Bad Mood if There’s a Rush
It’s nothing personal. We’re in work mode and if we’re hit all at the same time, it’s frustrating and our stress levels go up. Our job is customer service and we need to keep a smile on our faces. One time I didn’t even say anything to a person, but I did give a look, and this person was like “geez, I’m just asking for …” I wanted to apologize, but I didn’t even get the chance and this person walked away. For all the workers who keep up a good mood during a rush, these people are STRONG. These rushes are the starting point for when people usually get impatient and rude. To those who keep calm, thank you.
1. Stop staring at us.
It’s rude. And it makes us feel rushed. It’s not like we’re going slow on purpose. We’re getting paid to do our job, and we want to do our job well. Especially since we eat from the same place you do, some of us are students, too.
2. Keep saying please and thank you
This is something that you many of you do and it’s very much appreciated. Sometimes, we feel at the cutoff point. Our foreheads sweat from the heat of the oven, our feet get tired from standing around, bagging fries. Then someone says thank you.
“Manners matter.” ~Queen Clarise (Julie Andrews), from Princess Diaries
3. Stop checking your food every single minute when you just put in your order less than 10 minutes ago.
This is the same as staring. We’re working. Let us work in peace, please. It’s not like we want you to wait on your food forever. And if there’s a mistake, it’s an honest mistake. This and staring leads us workers to actually make more mistakes because we feel nervous and not at ease. The most time it takes food to be cooked well at the Underground is usually 10 minutes. If it’s any more, it’s understandable to worry about the food.
4. Keep having a smile on your face
It brings positive energy. And when you do, my fears of making the food incorrectly lessen. Thus my actual mistakes also lessen. Confidence helps work ethic.
5. Stop coming in 5-10 min before we close
You are the customer. You have the right to order what you want when you want. But we appreciate when a person does not coming around closing time. I’ll explain.
This is when we’re all cleaning up. If we’re expecting it, like if someone calls ahead and lets us know that there’s an event getting out late and there might be a rush of students coming in. Okay, we understand. We might be a little depressed, but at least we’re prepared. Usually, however, people come in and order without giving it a thought. I get it if your class goes on till late. But right before a late person came in, a few amount of people were ordering, we had already started cleaning up. You coming in this late, might add an additional 30 minutes cleaning up.
We also have homework we have to work on or a meeting with a study group right after work. A shift is usually 5-10:30 PM. That doesn’t leave much room for homework, studying, papers, etc. It makes a difference if we might want to check something at the Learning Center really quick, which closes at 11. There’s many factors. I can only speak for the student workers. But the adults also have lives outside of work. They’re also our peers. They feed and talk to us every single day.
6. Keep being specific
This year I learned that ‘plain’ can mean plain burger or plain cheeseburger. The first time someone corrected me, I was frustrated. How am I supposed to know? One, I have to ask. Two, you have to tell. And the process goes a lot quicker when you let me know in the first place.
7. Do Not Bully the Worker (this includes cyber bullying)
While I’ve gotten frustrated several times during work. I never really got so angry at our customers (peers/classmates) until I found out that some people yik yakked and tweeted about one of my co-workers. I don’t have yik yak and don’t keep up with Twitter, so I had no clue. But supposedly these college bullies said many negative things and were making fun of this worker in front of her and behind her back. She was working the grill, which is probably the hardest station to work in the UG, it was one of her first times working there, she’s super sweet and works her hardest to serve. It was rush hour meal time at the UG. People got impatient, made jokes to her face, tweeted negative comments about her as a grill worker, and yik yakked about her as well. Took pictures! Shared it as a joke. This is called bullying, people. And of course, she had yik yak and read the posts after work when she was already feeling down about herself after people made fun of her in front of her face.
8. Keep writing us up
Comment on the comment cards, tell us something we do right, something we do wrong. Propose an improvement. We appreciate the feedback as long as it’s not nasty. Write on the food order tickets. Draw a picture, anything positive, any effort. Many of you do this, and when you do, not only does it lift our moods, it makes us pay attention. I begin noticing who writes/draws what. That recognition helps me focus again on that specific food order was made.
The recent bullying incident was really what inspired me to speak out for my peers. That and this New Year coming up. Now that 2015 is in the past, 2016 is coming with new goals and wishes and dreams. I’ll set up my goals as well. I want to be a harder worker, I don’t want to complain at all when I go into work. And sometimes, I’ll mess us, but when it comes to treating people nicely and fairly, that’s always my ultimate goal, for this year and years to come.
CONCLUSION: Workers are people, too.