Learn To Get Along With Your Customers
June 28, 2016
Bartending is such a rewarding career: you get to spend time doing what you love – making cocktails, avoid sitting at a desk 9-5 and being compensated with a healthy wage in a fun environment.
Surrounded by new people all day and night, it’s often seen as a perk of the job, but if you’re accompanied with egotistical, ignorant customers, it becomes increasingly difficult to do your job and actually enjoy it.
For the times when the drunks invade the bar and you can’t seem to paste a fake smile on your face for those you just absolutely despise, here are some ways to get along with your customers.
Appreciate and Respect Them Regardless
Your role isn’t to make friends with every single customer, but of course it’s always nice to be shadowed by friendly beings. Regardless, don’t let anything get too personal and even when the mood can call for harmless banter, you always have to appreciate and respect your customers.
They pay the bills after all. The world is filled with people we weren’t born to be best friends with, but without people in bars, your job would be non-existent.
That doesn’t mean you have to take abuse and act like you’re besties, because nobody – in any industry – should have to stand for that. If a conversation ever gets offensive or too personal, calmly express that the customer calms their tone and if they persist, confidently ask them to leave.
Develop Good Service Habits
Aside from being a good listener, respectful and entertaining behind the bar, you can’t deny that learning to get along with your customers all comes from developing good service habits.
Take pride in your job and take it seriously. This includes keeping a clean and tidy bar, virtually becoming an encyclopedia of mixology and having a positive work ethic. Avoid standing around doing nothing and texting during a shift as that can lead to customers not feeling prioritised, which as a result, can lead to a distrust between you and them.
Be A Friendly And Positive Person
No matter if you’re out shopping, at a bank, at the gym or on the phone, everyone loves to engage with friendly and positive people. Positivism comprises of a smile, happy attitude and friendly aura.
If you demonstrate any of these traits, then it becomes easier for a customer to warm to you. As you’re technically the face of the bar and the reason why they keep returning, your behaviour plays a very significant role.
Stimulate friendly conversation whenever it’s suitable, such as when it’s a quiet night or you have a few free minutes. For new customers, welcome them to the bar and the area by asking for their name, what they’re drinking and what brings them here.
Though you’re not a tour guide, it’s kind to suggest local attractions and inform them of the best places to visit; you’d be surprised how small general chitchat can make a person feel comfortable.
For regulars, greet them with a smile and an open-hearted hello, ask about their day and pour their usual drink with confirmation of a small nod and point in the direction of the liquor.
Know The Difference Between Good And Bad Customer Service Yourself
Being encompassed in good and bad customer service yourself will help to improve your skills as a bartender, for you cannot be a great host if you don’t know what that comprises of.
Your main duty is to serve drinks to a high standard, look after the bar and be well-mannered – getting along with your customers is a bonus, and one which has become more and more expected of a bartender.
But overall, your priorities should always be in delivering an excellent service. Visiting restaurants and bars for anthropological research will enable you to get a sense of what it’s like to sit in the customers’ chair.
A hospitable bartender who’s confident and hardworking is far better than a person hiding behind the bar because they don’t want to be seen nor have to lift a finger.
Laziness is a sure way to discourage customers respecting you and wanting to return to the bar, which makes sense, because you yourself will have that mind-set when you’re out spending time in other bars.
This rough guide to developing a relationship with customers is a perfect start for new bartenders, but it’s also a useful resource for professionals who want to polish up on their people skills.
If you’re relaxed and happy, you’ll set the mood in the bar and that atmosphere will come back at you. Conversely, if you have a bad temper, lack of patience and limited virtue, it will become a struggle to feel comfortable and allow others to feel comfortable around you.
Set the tone with your behaviour and temperament and feel the benefits of being surrounded by wonderful people.