information chest that contains the facts you need to
help a person seeking assistance. Recognize that the
personal service requirements are not the same for
everyone. The senior petty officer will come to you for
service, but, because of his or her experience, will not
require the same explanations, interpretations, or
advice that a younger, less experienced member
requires. Since the more experienced members are
aware of the services to which they are entitled, they
are less likely to accept poor service. Although all
members depend on others for service, the greater need
probably is felt by the young men and women serving
their first enlistment, or by their dependents.
It is apparent from members comments
concerning the service provided by some personnel in
customer service-related fields that the service needs
to improve. As a first step in determining how
improvements can be made, lets analyze the
following factors concerning the desires and feelings
They want to be regarded as individuals.
They feel that, as persons, they are worthy of
more attention than you would give to mechani-
cal, routine duties.
They want you to treat them equally and fairly,
to be concerned with their welfare, and to be
considerate of their time.
They recognize their lack of experience and
knowledge and rely on more experienced mem-
bers, such as yourself, for advice and proper
action in their behalf.
These examples all relay one message: Improved
human relations are essential if customer service is to
Improving Your Contact Skills
To have a skill is the ability to do something well
as the result of talent, training, or practice, or a
combination of these. A multitude of skills comes into
play in your day-to-day lifethe professional skills of
your rating, your military skills, and the skills you use
in your off-duty activities.
We are concerned here with yet another type of
skill, face-to-face skills. These are skills that enable
deal effectively with people. Basically, these
include the ability to listen attentively,
effectively use eye contact, and work with and speak
to every individual as a person and not as an object.
The structure of the Navy tends to foster an
impersonal attitude in its members. We go where we
are sent. We do what we are told. Most of the decisions
that affect our lives are made by people we never even
see. This type of relationship does not involve
face-to-face contact, but this is not the relationship that
exists aboard ships or at shore stations. Here you are
in face-to-face contact with the customer; here the
relationship becomes personal.
It is because of this personal interaction that you
are required to have face-to-face skills if you are to be
an effective PN. People who are successful in sales
prefer to work on commission because it provides a
reward in proportion to their skills and efforts-the
most important being their face-to-face skills. They
listen to the customer to understand his or her needs;
they speak to the customer in a way the customer
understands; and they make every effort to make sure
the customer is satisfied.
Your effectiveness as the contact point depends on
how well you listen, speak, and respond to the
customers needs and how well you acquire and use
Examining Your Attitudes
Attitudes can be described as the tendency to move
toward a situation or away from it; to be either positive
or negative in our outlook or feelings toward a subject;
or to express a like or dislike (based on habit, a
previously formed opinion, or a current snap
judgment) for someone or something. A good
illustration of the positive-negative outlook was
provided sometime ago by a television commercial for
the U.S. Peace Corps. Look at the glass in figure 1-4.
Do you see the filled portion or the empty portion of
the glass? Do you see what is and resolve to make
the most of it? Or, do you see and resent what is not?
Our attitudes cannot be measured or graded, but
the effects or results of our attitudes can be. The effects
of our attitudes are apparent in our actions, words, and
deeds. You may have said or heard someone else say,
That person has a bad attitude. What does this mean?
How was this opinion formed? Was it formed as the
result of the way that person has acted toward
co-workers or customers, or as a result of not having
completed his or her assigned work?