Many business establishments tend to forget that everybody, including those they do not directly employ, like security people and the cleaning crew, contribute to their overall image.
Security people are often the first and last persons clients meet when they visit an establishment. How they interact with guests affects a client’s experience at the store, restaurant, etc.
One of the most common complaints I hear from friends and colleagues, for instance, is how arrogant and supercilious some guards at foreign embassies are. Getting a visa is difficult enough these days, when almost every Filipino is suspected of just waiting for an opportunity to extend his/her stay in a foreign country without proper documentation.
Unless they really have to, many people I know would rather visit places where they only need passports than go through the ordeal of applying for a visa that starts with security guards, who seem to think they also have a say on whether or not a person is able to travel.
I do not know if guards are instructed to behave the way they do, but many act like they have become citizens—by osmosis, perhaps?—of the country in whose embassy they are assigned. They treat every visa applicant like he/she is a potential illegal immigrant or over-staying visitor. Ironically, real consular officers usually turn out to be amiable and courteous.
But while the unwelcoming attitude of embassy security personnel may be tolerable, up to a point, the same kind of behavior should not be acceptable in business/commercial establishments.
Thus, it was a pleasant surprise when, on a recent visit to Davao City, we found a security guard at a Jollibee branch willing to go the extra mile for a patron. The branch was next door to our hotel. While we were at the fast-food place, it rained so heavily we could not return to our hotel without getting soaked.
After waiting for about half an hour for the rain to stop or at least ease a bit, we decided to ask the guard if we could borrow an umbrella, promising to return it. The guard did even better. He lent us the umbrella and escorted us back to the hotel so we did not have to return it to Jollibee.
From the reception he got from the guards at the hotel, we realized it was not the first time Jollibee guards helped the hotel’s guests.
Karl Victor Sumbeling, Inquirer’s business development and circulation-sales (Mindanao) officer, said what the guard did was typical of all Jollibee branches in the city, which had made it a policy that their security people should also help any way they could as part of the chain’s overall service to clients.
At the Mangan restaurant branch at Robinsons Ermita, I forgot my takeout order of bibingka. Fortunately, I had not left the mall although I had been window-shopping for almost an hour.
When I returned to collect my take-out order, I met our server, Richard, who was about to exit the mall, having finished his shift. As soon as he saw me, he reminded me about my order, quickly returned to Mangan to collect and hand it to me.
Richard could have pretended he did not see me and gone on his way. After all, his shift was over and there were other people at the restaurant who could have attended to me.
But this kind of service and people like Richard help create client loyalty for establishments.
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