I have a favorite convenience store that I think provides excellent service. It’s nice and clean with a wide selection of products, but what I really love is that I can get in and out quickly.  I actually will drive past a closer store that I don’t have such a high opinion of to go to this store.

When it comes to customer service, the clerks at this store are always very friendly, speedy, and efficient.  I was talking with a small group at work about how I think this store is a great example of customer service.  An extroverted colleague didn’t agree.  She said that she felt too rushed at this store.  She wanted to feel more of a connection with the clerk.

More connection? With the convenience store clerk?  As an introvert, that seems funny.  I don’t enjoy small talk and definitely prefer deeper conversations.  I like the friendliness of the clerk, but am not planning to form any type of long-term relationship.  But an extrovert sees every interaction as a type of connection, whether or not they’re going to have any future interactions with that person.

So whether you are giving or receiving customer service in any type of business, this difference  between introverts and extroverts is something to consider.  What does the customer want?  Some customers are going want to make small talk and some are going to appreciate being served in a speedy manner, as they either don’t need or don’t want conversation for just for the sake of talking.  When changing my oil, at a restaurant, checking out at the grocery store, or even getting my hair cut, I am less interested in the conversation and appreciate prompt, courteous, speedy service, where an extrovert might feel slighted by the same service I perceive as efficient.

So how do you win at customer service? A great customer service person needs to be adaptable, and able to read what their particular customer needs at the time.  As an introvert, when I’m working with clients, I know I will still need to make some small talk and “connect” to my customers as the situation warrants.  After all, it is about serving the customer and making sure they feel that their needs were met.  As far as being the customer myself, I am going to have preferences, and as I said, I am willing to drive past one store to get to the one that provides the type of service I appreciate. Understanding your customer and being able to meet his or her needs for interaction or efficiency is key to providing the level of customer service that your customer will appreciate.

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