21 Ways To Great Customer Service

Some ideas for getting and keeping business

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OK, OK! Yes, there certainly are more than 21 ways to GREAT customer service, but rather than overwhelm everyone, I wanted to keep it to a palatable number. Any one of these tips will produce better relations in your customer service! Here we go...

  1. Smile! Right. Don’t kid yourself. Just as it can be seen in person, it can be heard on the phone. So as NIKE says, Just Do It!
  2. Say something nice at least once a day to someone. People remember nice things; just as they remember the not-so-nice things.
  3. Don’t ever argue with a customer. You’ll lose every single time. Don’t even think about getting into that ring with them. “The customer is ALWAYS right,” even when you know that’s not true.
  4. If you’re sending something to a customer via any method, consider adding a short personal note. Items received without any note or mention of transaction are perceived as cold and rude... your customer feels they’re just another order/number. A simple, handwritten “Thank you” will do the trick, ideally on your business note paper. It says you stopped to do something special.
  5. Use “WE” statements when possible rather than “YOU.” “We” shows you, your staff, and your company in general are working with your customer and feels friendlier. It’s also far less confrontational.
  6. Say “Hello” loud and clear when someone walks into your office/store. Ignoring people, even fellow employees, isn’t good customer service.
  7. Keep the fences in your organization low. We all know there need to be rules, guidelines and policies. However, when there are too many of them, they can make doing business difficult. It’s not worth it.
  8. Be a double checker. Often, we can miss something or not know all of the details. Most people appreciate hearing, “The last time I checked, we were out of stock on that; however, let me DOUBLE CHECK for you.” That particular statement is so comforting. Everyone loves a double checker; it makes them feel special/important.
  9. We cannot do 2 things well at once. If you’re working with a customer, on the phone or in person, then focus on that person. Trying to type, or file, or do something else while you’re communicating with a customer is dangerous, and rude.
  10. If your attitude stinks, change it! No one — absolutely no one — wants to be connected with someone who has a bad or negative attitude.
  11. Respond rapidly. When you receive information from a client, it’s a good thing to let them know you did receive it. That’s good communications.
  12. Extend a firm handshake when being introduced to a customer. And FIRM is the key word. That loose, fishlike handshake is not a sign of confidence. FIRM is key.
  13. Thank you notes are still thought of as GREAT. Take the time to jot off one or two regularly to new, or better yet, older clients.
  14. Use your name when you answer the phone. Everyone likes to know who they’re talking with.
  15. Use your listening skills more often. We all like to talk, mainly to show off how much we know. But listening to what the customer knows is much better. Let others have the stage.
  16. It shouldn’t take 2 people to give good customer service. Learn how to handle the situation yourself rather than trying to get rid of it by shipping it off to a co-worker. Just make sure you’re handling it properly.
  17. Show some empathy or sympathy when a customer complains. Doing or saying nothing when they feel they have a problem will put you in the doghouse fast. However, do it genuinely.
  18. Learn to say “I’m sincerely sorry for what happened” or something that will allow the customer to feel that you’re apologizing. That quick “sorry ’bout that” statement sounds as though you’re throwing the statement away.
  19. Be prepared. If you’re in customer service, or any front line position, expect things to happen. Be prepared is not just for the Boy Scouts. It’s for anyone who works with customers. Always be prepared to expect the unexpected!
  20. When in doubt, leave it out. Writing a letter or note to a client or calling them? If you’re in doubt using a certain word or phrase, leave it out or use something else.
  21. Your own ‘secret’ customer service tip. Everyone out there has one. And don’t keep it a secret, share it with your co-workers or other business people.

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