prague_trams

How communication can be improved

In the recent years there has started to be an increase emphasis on effective communication, on creating pleasant environment around us – a place where customer service is very important.
We are visiting Prague for a few days and have experienced some examples of not so effective communication. I will give two examples and what the alternatives would have been:

1) The other day we were in one of the very big book stores in Prague.

We selected few interesting books that we wanted to buy, but somehow could not find the counter we needed to pay them at, so I decided to ask a person that worked there:

–  Excuse me, we would like to buy these books. Where can we pay for them? I asked.

  –  What do you want? she answered using a tone that made me feel I was disrupting her.
I repeat the question and she then tells me the floor and the place where we can pay.

I leave the place with two interesting books but with a rather awkward feeling because of the reaction of the employer … but  I know it’s not me, it’s her.

What could she have said when I asked her my question? Clearly she did not understand what I asked her, but what would an effective communication  have looked like?
What if instead of  What do you want? – emphasis put on me, the customer that wants something – she would have asked  Yes, how can I help you? emphasis on her, on how she can be of service to me, the customer?
 The second question would have dismantle any suspicion of her being upset and would have sent the message that she is there to help me and that I can ask her anything and she would be willing to help.

2) In Prague, as far as we were told,  you can buy tickets for the public transportation from the mini markets that are here called Potraviny

    So we find ourselves going from Potraviny to Potraviny asking if they have tickets to sell.  We experienced from cashiers that only nod their heads “No”  without even looking at us, to others speaking on the phone while gesturing to leave him alone.
  What could these Potraviny employees have done to create a good customer experience?
  What if they stopped from whatever they were doing and for just 5 seconds would have smiled and said “No”, we don’t have tickets and then briefly state the reason?
  We are out of them today / Usually they are sold  quickly  / We never have them / The Potraviny in the Old city don’t usually have them, etc. Whatever the reason:
  •       pause your activity for 5 seconds.
  •       smile and make eye contact.
  •      answer to the question and possibly give other options.
   After two days of staying in Prague, I think that I experienced some of the not so good customer service.
   The beauty of the city, though, always saves the day.

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