Putting a Smile on Face-to-face Customer Service

Many businesses today don’t have direct face-to-face contact with their customers. They communicate with them online or over the phone instead. However, there are still plenty of businesses that require talking to customers in person and providing excellent service. In some ways, this can be easier than other types of customer service. But in other ways, there are more difficulties to navigate.

If you provide face-to-face customer service to your customers, there are likely to be several ways you could improve the service you provide. Consider the following points to see if you could make things better for your business.

1.Sort Out Your Tech

Businesses rely on technology heavily for a range of things. Some restaurants use tablets for hosts to manage reservations and seating. Most businesses have electronic payment systems. All technology can go wrong sometimes, but if the tech you use (or don’t use) is slowing you down all the time, something needs to change. If you don’t already have credit card reader terminals, introducing them to your business increases convenience for your customers. If you find that your payment system often experiences glitches, it might be time to look into getting a new one. You should assess the tech you use and consider whether any new tech could be helpful.

2. Get the Balance Between Negligent and Pushy

This is a tough one. How can your staff be friendly and approachable, without being too pushy with customers? Many people hate it when they don’t get two seconds to browse before a member of staff has pounced on them. However, equally, it’s frustrating when they need help and can’t seem to get it from anyone. Training your floor staff to recognize when it’s appropriate to offer assistance can help with this. Some businesses might also have a policy of how much time to leave before approaching a customer.

3. Provide Training on Complaints Handling

Handling complaints is tricky no matter what form of communication you use. Sometimes, people will hold back a little more when they’re talking face-to-face. However, your staff could still have their fair share of angry customers. Adequate training on handling complaints is essential, even if the protocol is always to call for a manager. You might want to give all staff some training on addressing complaints, though, so they’re not always waiting around for a manager to become available.

4. Not All Customers Are Always Right

It might not seem sensible to say, but the adage that “the customer is always right” isn’t strictly true. There are times when you need to make a decision about a customer being in the wrong, particularly if they are disturbing other customers or treating your staff poorly. Sometimes, pandering to an aggressive or disrespectful customer will do more damage to your reputation than asking them to leave. Think about who else is watching and how they would want you to respond to the situation.


Providing excellent face-to-face service is arguably more important than other forms of customer service. Ongoing training and changes in practice and policy are great ways to continually improve.