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What Your Bartender Can Teach You About Customer Service Ever wondered how much a bartender can teach each us when it comes to customer service and how to become the five-star provider?

By Prerna Raturi

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This weekend when you go to a pub or a bar, observe him closely. Shirt cuffs folded, slick hair and sharply dressed, quick on his feet and ready with a witty line, this young man –few women in this space at present – has the power to make or break your evening-out experience.

I mean the bartender. Takes too long to serve your drink, and you're upset. Mixes it wrong and the inner James Bond in you can give him grief about the "shaken not stirred" principle. Placed it in front of you without a smile, and you wonder aloud if he was trained to be rude.

But if he does everything right, chances are he becomes your favourite man – your go-to when you need your drink, just the way it should be. Like I said, he can make or break your evening-out experience.

Bar tricks aside, ever wondered how much a bartender can teach each one of us when it comes to customer service and how to become the five-star provider? Here are some pointers:

A class act:

You can make out a good bartender by the way he treats your drink. He mixes it right, he serves it with a flourish and a smile, and if you are undecided on what to have, he gently prods what you are feeling like, and then guides you to something you are sure to enjoy.

In short, he knows his stuff. Just what we need at customer service, isn't it -- informative, helpful and knowledgeable people who consider serving others an honour, not a chore.

That ready smile:

One thing you will never see a bartender wear is a sour face and a grudging smile. He not only puts you at ease with his easy-going conversation, but never, ever, forgets his manners around his guests. Even if yours is the last drink of the day he's serving, a good bartender makes it seem like it he loved putting it together – never mind the six hours of being on one's toes, the mad weekend rush, and demanding customers. Making you feel welcomed should be on top-of-the-list for a good customer experience, too.

What's up, doc?:

Not for nothing do they call the bartender a part-time psychologist. People unburden their worries on him, talk to him about their biggest fears and problems, and go back feeling lighter. So what does a bartender do? Does he give quick-fix solutions?

Tell you to quit your job if you're this miserable? Move on if your love life sucks? Most times, it's none of the above. He lends a patient ear, however. Just what a pro at customer service should do. Just as a bartender can't repair a marriage, a customer service person can't physically solve a problem. What he can do, however, is listen in patiently, and pass on the problem to the right person.

Here's some more:

You pay for the drink, but the munchies are on the house. And so are the nifty bar magic tricks your bartender performs at his workstation. One of the most popular things during drinking hours, these tricks wow you, make you laugh and impress you. One more thing the bartender entertains you with as you sip your drink – or wait for it. Similarly, the least you can do as you put your customer on hold over the phone, and have him wait in the line at the store, is put her at ease, offer some freebies, play relaxing music….

In the open:

Should you care, a the bartender measures your whiskey for you to see, puts it on the rocks, or serves it with soda, just as you like it. He doesn't scrimp on the dash of sherry, add too much ice to make it look more, but ensures the mint in your mojito is fresh. To make sure you know it, too, he does it all in front of your eyes. Being transparent in his work is one of the biggest strengths of a bartender. And that's how customers like company officials to be, too.

Prerna Raturi is writer, researcher and editor for the past eight years and writes for a number of newspapers and magazines. She started her journalistic career with Business Standard, and has also worked in the field of women's empowerment. Her interests include reading, writing, and adventure sports.
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