Preparing to Serve a Diverse Customer Base
Many organizations and employees have realized the importance of creating a fair and equal environment in which everyone feels respected and valued. This is especially important in a service environment where employees encounter customers who have different characteristics.
Providing good customer service can be challenging on any given day. That is why updating customer service skills is a crucial part of professional development for any customer service representative. And, when you factor in elements of diversity, providing great customer service can become difficult for many service providers who lack sufficient knowledge and experience in dealing with diverse individuals.
To ensure that you are ready for potential situations in which you will be serving people of different age, gender, ability, cultural and religious background, and numerous other diversity factors, consider participating in the following initiatives:
- Honestly evaluate your own biases towards people from a given group and develop some strategies for overcoming them.
- Visit a restaurant that serves ethnic foods other than that of your native culture.
- Share your own story with someone from a different group (e.g. age, gender, ethnic background, or religion) and see how their life experiences compare or differ from yours.
- Identify at least one resource for diversity information and visit it each month.
- Take a language course to learn a new language.
- Visit a religious institution, museum or historical monument of a culture different from your own.
- Volunteer to work with people whose race, age, gender, or cultural backgrounds are different from your own.
For more ideas and strategies on dealing with customers who have diverse backgrounds that may be different from yours, read Customer Service Skills for Success and Please Every Customer: Delivering Stellar Customer Service Across Cultures.