Are You Being Served? Part Deux

26 03 2007

Last week I asked the question : What is reasonable to ask a customer service department for in a customer service request?

This week I pose the question : What courtesies should always been given to customers and consumers by the part of the customer service department?

Feels like yesterday I was talking about my crappy trip to the grocery store.

This weekend I went to a gas station, I bought a can of RedBull and a Tim Horton’s coffee.  I had to wait at the desk at Tim Hortons for the 5 people standing back there to acknowledge I was waiting there, then the cashier asked what I wanted (no greeting), put out his hand for money and continued talked (his back to me) with the girls he was working with.  He slammed down the coffee (which spilt a bit) and he dropped the coins onto the desk (didn’t hand them to me).

Then I went to get my RedBull, that cash attendant mumbled and wouldn’t look at me. . . .he just cupped his hand out in front of my face grasping for the money.

Grrrrrrrrr.  What happened to Customer Service? 

Here is my list of things that should always be extended to customers.

  • Be polite.  Even if you have to labour at it.
  • Always greet your customer hi and bye. 
  • Eye contact, even on the phone.  By this I mean “Be Attentive”
  • Always say “Yes”.  Even if you have to say no, there is always a way to word it positivily.
  • Be sincere and honest.  If you can’t help or provide the service yourself, help your customer find something that can.  Think Miracle on 34th Street.
  • Make contact.  Either eye contact, physical contact (like a handshake) or even just a smile.
  • Let your customer finish.  Often the process of simply venting is all the customer wants.
  • Let them tell you what they want or need, often they need less than your company policy for warranty or returns.
  • Be clean. Physically and in how you speak.
  • Endevour to answer all emails and messages in a timely fashion.

What else would you add to this list?

Here is a list from All Business.com  “Ten Rules for Great Customer Service”

  1. Commit to quality service. Everyone in the company needs to be devoted to creating a positive experience for the customer. Always try to go above and beyond customer expectations.
  2. Know your products. Conveying knowledge about products and services will help you win a customer’s trust and confidence. Know your company’s products, services and return policies inside out. Try to anticipate the types of questions customers will ask.
  3. Know your customers. Try to learn everything you can about your customers so you can tailor your service approach to their needs and buying habits. Talk to people and listen to their complaints so you can get to the root of customer dissatisfaction.
  4. Treat people with courtesy and respect. Remember that every contact with a customer — whether it’s by email, phone, written correspondence, or face-to-face meeting — leaves an impression. Use phrases like “sorry to keep you waiting,” “thanks for your order,” “you’re welcome,” and “it’s been a pleasure helping you.”
  5. Never argue with a customer. You know darn well that the customer isn’t always right. But instead of focusing on what went wrong in a particular situation, concentrate on how to fix it. Research shows that 7 out of 10 customers will do business with you again if you resolve a complaint in their favor.
  6. Don’t leave customers hanging. Repairs, callbacks and emails need to be handled with a sense of urgency. Customers want immediate resolution, and if you can give it to them, you’ll probably win their repeat business. Research shows that 95 percent of dissatisfied customers will do business with a company again if their complaint is resolved on the spot.
  7. Always provide what you promise. Fail to do this and you’ll lose credibility — and customers. If you guarantee a quote within 24 hours, get the quote out in a day or less. If you can’t make good on your promise, apologize to the customer and offer some type of compensation, such as a discount or free delivery.
  8. Assume that customers are telling the truth. Even though it sometimes appears that customers are lying or giving you a hard time, always give them the benefit of the doubt. The majority of customers don’t like to complain; in fact, they’ll go out of their way to avoid it.
  9. Focus on making customers, not making sales. Salespeople, especially those who get paid on commission, sometimes focus on the volume instead of the quality of the sale. Remember that keeping a customer’s business is more important than closing a sale. Research shows that it costs six times more to attract a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. (To ensure that you accurately track your customers, your business might want to invest in CRM software. Read our overview, How Is CRM Different from ERP? to get a handle on that type of program.)
  10. Make it easy to buy. The buying experience in your store, on your Web site or through your catalog should be as easy as possible. Eliminate unnecessary paperwork and forms, help people find what they need, explain how products work, and do whatever you can to facilitate transactions.

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One response

27 03 2007
Eli Sadownick

These are great lists and i can’t add much. Customer service and responsiveness is largely a matter of attitude. I’d say: If your customer has a problem, first do what you need to to understand it and second, do what you can to help him/her solve it.

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