How to be an Anti-Karen - Customer Service Basics


By Liz Lark-Riley

I received a huge honor from my team at our end-of-spring party this year. At our first-ever awards night, The Rockies, my team voted for me for “The Anti-Karen Award - Best at winning over any ‘Karen’ male or female.” I was seriously thrilled. 

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At this point, I’m sure I don’t have to define a ‘Karen’ for you. We all know her, she’s been canceled on the internet many times for making the lives of retail and restaurant workers as well as already marginalized people miserable. But here’s the secret to earning my “Anti-Karen” award…I’m actually pro-Karen. 

No, I do not celebrate or condone belittling or berating people just trying to do their jobs but I do recognize that all “Karens” are humans too. And when it comes to customer service, the #1 thing you can do to connect with your customers is to remember that the customer is always right human. 

Maya Angelou famously said, “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” The first step in ensuring that customers have a warm fuzzy feeling surrounding your business is to help your team remove any us vs. them barriers that may have been created and recognize that we’re all human figuring this out together. 

How does a manager do that? Previous posts here on Grow the Bench have stressed the importance of removing barriers between managers, crew leaders, and team members. Why? Because teams who enjoy working together drive greater profitability. From a customer service standpoint, employees who are having fun at work and who care about their coworkers are likely to pass that sense of fun along to the customer, further removing barriers. 

Another way managers can ensure that team members are comfortable at work is to keep them informed. For a frontline employee there’s nothing worse than being asked questions by customers that you feel like you can’t answer or don’t know where to find the answers. Make sure you are consistently communicating with your team and that they can access all the information that you are sharing with your customers. Your team should know your policies and where to find them. Have a blog? Incentivize your employees to read it. We offer four hours of free PTO quarterly to any employee who reads every one of our weekly blogs the week it comes out. 

I can win over any Karen because I know our business intimately. I know our policies, I know when to bend them, and I know that recognizing our customers’ humanity is the first step to ensuring they walk away feeling good about themselves and our business. 

Liz Lark-Riley is the Managing Director at Rockledge Gardens.  Liz will be presenting two can't-miss sessions at Cultivate '22 in Columbus, Ohio on July 16-19 and you can learn more about her presentations at this link.

Tags: Connections , Customer Service , Communications ,