Asking how you can help a customer is a good thing; badgering them with the same enquiry is not! Here’s an example of the latter.

“Coffee or tea, sir?”

“No thanks,” I replied to the polite waitress at the Latest Recipe Café in the beautiful Le Meridien Hotel, Putrajaya, Malaysia.

It’s a fine hotel with attentive staff and I had breakfast at the hotel for five mornings in a row.

About 10 minutes after being offered a hot beverage on that first morning, another smiley waiter approached, “Can I get you a tea or coffee?” he enquired.   I replied, “No thanks” again, and continued with my meal.

Ten minutes or so later a waitress approached and asked the same question to which I replied, “No thanks.” This was the third offer of a hot beverage in 25 minutes and I was well and truly over it by the time the fourth server asked the same question.

Clearly the hotel was trying – perhaps too hard – to be attentive to their diners, but they lacked a system to stop staff asking diners the same question.

Every morning I was in the restaurant, I was asked repeatedly if I wanted tea or coffee. In this instance, management failed to put in place a system to ensure diners were not being badgered. Many restaurants I’ve been to will upturn a coffee cup on the table to signify to other service staff that the diner didn’t want a hot beverage.

It’s a little bit like walking into a retail store and being asked repeatedly by different staff, “Can I help you?” Smart businesses implement simple systems to ensure clients aren’t repeatedly bothered or asked the same question.

What systems do you have in your workplace?