It is the winter holidays!!  You get constant reminders of the number of shopping days left and the really big deal bargains you are missing at Acme.  Holiday store decorations seem to come out earlier every year.  All this pressure can turn generosity into greed and a casual shopper into a lean, mean buying machine.  It’s enough to give Black Friday a dark label!

But, despite the elbows, line jumpers and parking spot stealers, some people seem to get great customer service.  Great customer service, even during hectic holidays, is not just an accident.  Those who are well served follow a deliberate recipe that turns even a cold initial encounter into a warm and delightful experience.

Continue reading for even more ways to ensure you are on the receiving end of great customer service this holiday season!

1. Check Your Pessimism at the Door

Enter the service encounter with the expectation that greatness is about to happen and that it should happen to you.  Visualize being served well.  Then, let your positive attitude and confident expectation come from that terrific mental picture.  Avoid making demands.  Instead, put your energy into creating a lighthearted connection.

2. Carefully Manage the First Ten Seconds

The first ten seconds are vital to shaping the reception you are likely to get.  Aim your eyes and best Steinway smile at the service provider.  Then deliver a greeting that loudly proclaims, “We are about to have some unbelievable festivity here.  And you’re invited!”   Optimism and joy are generally infectious.

3. Help the Service Provider Give You Greatness

Most service people are really eager to give great service but are weary with the barrage at the holidays.  Sometimes barriers make it difficult.  Be a willing helper in clearing barriers away.  If the barrier is a foul mood, try a quick tease or sincere compliment to turn sour into sunny.  If the barrier is a silly policy, offer a creative suggestion that helps you get what you want without putting the service person at risk.

4. Always Lace Your Encounters with Respect

No matter how determined a server seems to provide only the absolute bare minimum, treat the server with respect.  Sometimes a “no” is an unshakable “no!”  Be assertive but never pushy or aggressive.  Always use your best manners—“please,” “sirs” and “thank you’s.”   Remember: a chilly initial reception will generally thaw if you are persistent in your cheerfulness.

5.  Be Generous and Thoughtful

Never view a service encounter as a single transaction but rather the start of an important relationship.  Assume you’ll be back and be generous in expressing your gratitude for great service.  Praise service people to their superiors.  Express your compliments to great service providers with a follow-up note or call.  The next time you return, you’ll get their red carpet best!

Don’t wait for great service to come to you. Take charge of elevating the encounter from “pretty good” to “I wouldn’t go anywhere else!” Servers like great customers just as much as customers like great servers.  Serve from your heart and you will be served in the same fashion.  Happy holidays!