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What's the customer's role in customer service?

I've just come back from London having delivered a customer service course for 24 people on the front line at some of the main London stations (ticket office, gateline and platforms).

I've worked with them before and I'm always struck by what a difficult job it is. It's cold, noisy, draughty and extremely busy, and on top of this, there are a good number of rude, sometimes abusive customers.

One of the delegates explained how he makes sure that he gets to know as many customers as possible. I asked him to explain to everyone why he does this. This was his rationale.

'When a customer comes along and is rude or difficult, it's easy to be pulled down and then to look miserable for the next batch of customers. When you then see someone you know, who smiles at you and wishes you good morning, your mood's lifted and then you can deliver good service again.'

So, if you're a regular at a station (or anywhere else) why not make an effort to get to know the person providing the service. Who knows, next time you go back there, you might be the one to lift their mood so they can deliver good service again.