Five Service Tips Mama Taught You

momThere’s no disputing that providing great service day-in and day-out takes work, focus and the desire to continuously improve.  Yet the basics are as simple and straightforward as the rules your mother taught you when you were a child. 

Moms hold these time-tested maxims inviolate, and although some of the words may be different, the concepts are constant, without regard to region, income, politics, race, faith, or any other outside factor that could get in the way. The truth is the truth, after all, and mothers are as universally empowered to hand down these five commandments as we are universally expected to obey. 

  1. Look both ways before crossing the street.  Take this advice literally, of course, to avoid having your work week shortened by a fast-moving truck. In the figurative sense, though, it encourages is to look at problems from all the angles. Sometimes the resolution to an issue isn’t to your left or right, but around the corner. Don’t settle for the easy or obvious solution.   
  2. Walk, don’t run.  There may a lot to do and no time to do it, but the answer isn’t to move at light speed. You’ll be more effective if you slow down. As the pressure eases, your mind will clear and make room for creativity to set up shop. Your work will be more inspired as a result, and you won’t waste time redressing errors made in haste.
  3. Comb your hair and brush your teeth. When you prepare for work, look for the obvious dirt, stains and wrinkles, and assess the potential for embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions. Once the visible has passed muster, take a moment to envision the day ahead: Think about something that provokes a smile or chuckle. Visualize a rewarding experience. Psych yourself up for a great day doing work you love.     
  4. Pay attention.  Anyone can talk, complain and provide opinions with the speed of an industrial assembly line. Focus on being the world’s best listener. Try to understand what is being said, then take it a step further and try to understand how the speaker is feeling. Only then will you be able to act with compassion, creativity and uncommon good sense.
  5. Remember the Golden Rule.  Treat everyone with respect, from the public and guests to your boss and co-workers. Even when it hurts. Smile. Even when it hurts. Take the long view: It’s your life, and to a great extent, you can control the way you live it.

 Scott H. Lewis is managing director for the CIS region of Signature Europe. A former journalist and public relations counselor, he has provided crisis, public speaking and presentation training to senior executives across Russia, Ukraine and Turkey. He is the author of The Kindness Cure: 52 Weeks to a More Fulfilling Life.  An American, he has lived in Kyiv, Ukraine for more than a decade.

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