That was Uncomfortable! A Balinese Lesson in Customer Service

Bali taxi customer service

We love travelling. New experiences expand our minds and grow our hearts with understanding and tolerance. It also teaches us more about good customer service. It makes us feel comfortable and for many people, feeling comfortable when they travel is a good thing. Not like the taxi driver we experienced on one Bali journey from Seminyak to Kuta.

In Bali most people are not in a hurry. Tourists are soaking it in and the residents are on Bali time, a relaxed pace that suits the hot weather and the hustling traffic. There are more scooters than cars and more taxis than we’ve ever seen in one place. Their constant toot toot as we decide to trek the narrow roads (one misstep one way will put you in a deep watery ditch or the other your toe under a wheel) is an invitation to take the air-conditioned, but not necessarily faster route.

To live in Bali, we remarked many times, it is a requirement to have patience – especially as a motorist or rider. There is little point being impatient. Which didn’t seem to matter to the driver of our 20 minute trip to Kuta. He impatiently tailed the scooters in front and wove in and out of the traffic trying to beat the inevitable delays. It didn’t make us up any time though. All it did was make us uncomfortable.

Rather than stress about the imminence of an incident I wondered, after he rubbed his face with the palm of his hand in frustration, if he was simply having a bad day. Perhaps his habitual toot toot to attract our attention was not meant to result in a journey that far. Perhaps he had a luncheon to get to. Or, perhaps he was simply hot and tired.

We talked about it for a couple of days – how uncomfortable it made us feel. We talked about it far more than the 4 other comfortable experiences we had in taxis. We’ll probably still talk about it at other times too. Our discomfort will stick in our travel memories.

The trip made me realise, that as a customer service provider, my job is to make my customers feel comfortable, regardless of what is happening in my day. They choose me, as a result of my habitual and hopeful toot toot (my sales or marketing) with an expectation of a comfortable experience and I have a duty to take myself outside of what is in myself – what my problems are – and make it comfortable for them.

Do you make your customers comfortable?

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