Being in a face-to-face role everyday as part of my job, and especially working with people of all walks of life and language barriers, offending someone, which can always happen, is a dialogue. If you meant to offend then being offended is a legitimate response. If you accidentally offended, then as part of that dialogue you engage, learn and you make it right , especially if you didn’t know and all you were trying to do is be pleasant. This is called dialogue and unfortunately is a dying art. We no longer engage, we no longer anticipate, and we no longer size someone up to start that dialogue. Politicians, true sales people and basically just plain personable people have this down to a science. It’s a skill of communication and as I mentioned already fewer and fewer people have the ability of dialogue and these are the people we continually see in customer service face-to-face roles. Perhaps it’s a gift of age, myself I think it’s an ability to successfully interact with all people. It’s also two-way, so if one side fails and cannot engage or wanting to then someone will be offended.
All I can say is that the simplest why to not offend and to provide excellent customer service is to just SMILE and let the rest fall into place. No sign EVER needed!