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100 Customer Service Tips by Larry Williams

Quality Insider

Separate Work and Social Life

… and think before divulging personal information

Published: Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - 07:24

There are times when we make decisions at work that are more personal in nature. To us, they may seem harmless because they are not intended to interfere with our day-to-day activities on the job. Although sometimes done with the best of intentions, these decisions can also hamper our efforts to deliver great customer service. The following tips will help you stay focused on your customers.

Don’t invite friends to work

It might seem innocent enough, but most supervisors frown on socializing at work. There are several things at play here that could damage your reputation. For starters, it is simply not within your authority to grant permission or to invite people to visit your place of work. You would be hard-pressed to find an employer who would encourage this sort of invitation.

The presence of a friend can contribute to a social atmosphere in the workplace. Most employers expect you to concentrate on work and not on conversations with friends. This, in turn, would give your superiors cause to question your priorities and dedication.

Liability issues also come up when friends assist you or travel in work areas not designed for untrained and uninvited people. If your friend gets injured as a result of his extended stay on the premises, your employer might have to deal with legal complications, insurance problems, and worker’s compensation insurance investigations. Any of these consequences can jeopardize your job security.

Unless it is authorized or encouraged, don’t invite friends to work. Your job requires your undivided attention. Any distraction, regardless of how innocent it may be, can seriously affect your reputation and tenure.

Don’t give out personal information

Personal information is personal. When you begin to feel comfortable with a returning customer, it’s easy to assume she has your best interests in mind. Most people prefer to stay positive and not consider the way some people can complicate personal lives with unnecessary drama. Sadly, many workers have placed themselves in compromising and embarrassing situations simply by being nice and sharing personal information.

Be selective and careful when you give out personal information. Your last name, contact information, online social media screen names, and the coffeehouses you frequent reveal the kind of information a customer can use to contact you away from work. Protect valuable information such as your marital status, children, and type of vehicle you drive.

Even when you want a relationship you have formed at work to be long-lasting, be extremely selective in how forthcoming you are with this personal information. There are too many people in this world with bad intentions.

Don’t assume that everyone you come in contact with is harmless. Even if most of them are, they could inadvertently damage your reputation without knowing it.  Don’t give out personal information that might compromise you and the many things you have worked so hard to achieve.

Bottom line: Have the clarity to make personal decisions that will have minimal risk of affecting your job, employer, performance, or self. When you’re at work, be the best employee you can be. When you are off the clock, be the best friend you can be.


About The Author

100 Customer Service Tips by Larry Williams’s picture

100 Customer Service Tips by Larry Williams

For more than 20 years, Larry Williams has been a respected public speaker, journalist, and business entrepreneur. He is recognized and awarded for his business professionalism, community service, and national involvement in a very high-profile child abduction case. Through his leadership, educational offerings, and public speaking, Larry Williams has set a standard for customer service that is recognized and emulated regionally and nationally; and he “tells it like it is” in his book, Customer Service A to Z.