Over my career in hospitality and especially in my younger years managing teams, I have seen the all too common occurrence of people who work in the industry burning out. People who love working with customers start getting jaded and don't want to do it anymore. Some take a break from the industry and come back, and some leave never to return.
It’s not that they aren’t cut out for the hours or the commitment to being friendly and dealing with people every day, it’s more that in being excellent customer service employees, they look after the customer’s needs first and fail to look after themselves in the process.
If you read any literature, watch videos, or listen to podcasts on customer service, more often than not the focus is on putting the customer’s needs above your own and showing care to customers. We all aim to treat our customers how we’d like to be treated, but at what cost?
How can we be expected to look after customers when we don’t even look after ourselves? And how can we expect to give customers respect, empathy, and kindness when we rarely include these qualities into our own day to day.
Many people who get into customer-focused roles love to deal with people. And more often than not they are people pleasers; they want to ensure that others have a good experience, but often their own self-care falls far down the priority list of things to do.
Exercise, eating well, and sleep fail to be priorities, and spending time with friends who you don’t work with is a thing of the past. Doing things for our self development and growth starts to be non-existent, and for many, the job is the centre of their world.
So, what are the costs of not looking after one’s self in customer-focused roles? Well, the price is burning out, ending up almost hating people and not caring. There is a disconnect that happens and if one more person asks you for a weird coffee, or tests your knowledge about your wines you are going to scream.
If you've gotten to this point, it's time to take a step back, to re-assess, and to start putting yourself first. Being mindful of your self-care needs to become a priority, and that means putting you at the top of the list. You can't be a good manager, or show attention to your employees or customers if you are not feeling refreshed, fulfilled and excited about your job.
If you do one thing for the next month, I ask that you put yourself first. Get a good sleep as many nights of the week as possible, exercise, get moving, don’t drink too much booze, and eat regular and healthy meals as it will set you on the right track for doing it better.
And once you get all that in order, start planning for personal growth. Do a course, book a holiday, or begin to volunteer for a local charity. Do something that is entirely separate to your work and the daily stresses.
Looking after yourself will make you a better customer service employee. KB
Kate Bickford MD & Owner - BK AGENCY: