5 critical customer service mistakes in the classic movie Love Actually

The beauty of movies is identifying with the situations our favorite characters live through in a film. They are a slice of real life. In Love Actually, the romantic comedy directed by Richard Curtis, we see many different situations we’re all too familiar with, especially during the holiday season. 

Here we’ve compiled 5 classic customer service mistakes from the scene in the department store with Alan Rickman and Rowan Atkinson’s characters. 

If you want your customer service to stand out among the rest, avoid these behaviors at all costs:

If you want to distinguish yourself by great quality and good service, take note to avoid these situations at all costs:

1. Not listening to the customer

Once you‘ve caught the client’s attention, it is important to put yourself in their shoes. We all know how we like to be treated and, for most customers, being listened to is the bare minimum that they expect.

The customer must be made to feel valued and the sales associate must show initiative when reacting to what’s happening. In the scene in Love Actually, the opposite happens. From the beginning of the transaction, a lack of empathy from the sales associate becomes evident. He is unable (or unwilling) to give the customer what he wants because he doesn’t listen to the customer’s initial requests.

Never let a bad day affect your attitude or outlook. Stop focusing on things that are out of your control and make sure you do your work to the best of your ability. It all starts by listening carefully to the customer’s needs.

2. Not meeting the needs of the client

Listening is the greatest tool for identifying the client’s needs and, thus, being able to address them successfully.

In the scene in Love Actually, the client’s needs are constantly ignored as Atkinson’s character continues to get carried away wrapping the gift. What customers really want is for the sales associate to understand what they need and provide a straightforward solution to their problem. Honesty must be maintained at all times during the process. If the customer is looking for something outside what your company provides, you must make this clear and never try to trick the customer into buying something they don’t need.

Remember: every interaction is a new opportunity to help the customer with solutions that address their needs. Don’t waste any more opportunities, proper training in customer service training can make a huge difference.

2100 serious game

3. Being unpleasant during the process

How many of us have arrived at a store only to have poor customer service turn us off? Unfortunately, this feeling is all too common. 

When, as a customer, you decide to make a purchase, you have certain expectations for the other side:

  • You want them to treat you nicely. You only ask that they smile, treat you well, and are friendly and pleasant. 
  • You want them to show good manners: greet you, say please when they ask you things, say thank you, goodbye, and wish you a good day.
  • They don’t make you wait. Every customer is a potential sale, so they all deserve timely attention. You must help them right away unless you’re with another customer. 
  • Not to be ignored. Helping the customer must be your priority. No one likes to arrive at a store or company and be forgotten about just because there is an important call or a conversation between co-workers that can’t wait.
  • That they are flexible. They should be willing to help you and solve your problems if you need it or give you space if you prefer that.
  • They shouldn’t be pushy. Customer service providers can sometimes be very pushy. We all like to be treated with kindness, but you must know that there is a limit to everything, even courtesy.

This last point is a key mistake shown in the scene in the film. The sales associate was kind but to the point of it being uncomfortable. He went the extra mile but too much so. This fact, combined with the rest of the customer service process, puts the whole transaction at risk.

4. Not meeting the customer’s minimum expectations

Every customer has expectations when they walk into a store or transaction. How we meet these expectations is the deciding factor in how memorable the service is. Three-star service is not the same as a five-star service. But what makes the difference? Meeting expectations. 

There are four basic ways to measure customer satisfaction when it comes to their expectations:

  1. Giving customer service they expect.
  2. Giving customer service they would like to see.
  3. Giving customer service that surprises them.
  4. Giving customer service that amazes them.

In Love Actually, the sales associate sets a bad example by failing to meet the client’s minimum expectation of speediness. In contrast, a good example would be a service that meets the customer’s needs, distinguishing itself from the competition in a way that surprises them in a good way. This is what we call going above and beyond.

5. Losing an interested customer’s sale

Any customer service experience, however short, needs to take into account factors including but not limited to the ones we have seen in this article. Overall, the goal is to provide customer service that stands out from others as a unique and positive experience.

However, what can happen if basic customer service expectations aren’t met? If the customer has a bad experience they may leave disappointed without buying anything. This is exactly what happens in Love Actually. During the whole scene, we feel increasing discomfort and tension between the customer and the sales associate until Alan Rickman’s character eventually leaves frustrated.

Most of the time, all we have to do to deliver great service is to treat the customer the way we like to be treated. Considering this, how would you rate your customer service skills?

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