The 10 Commandments of Customer Service
By James A. Baker
Founder and CEO
Customer service and success go hand in hand. For a thriving business, more sales, and returns on your bottom line, follow the Ten Commandments of great customer service.
- Train and appreciate employees
Train your employees adequately and treat them well. Customer-facing employees represent your business. Their knowledge, skills, and ability to communicate are critical to being effective at their jobs. Not only that, but their attitude is critical to your company’s image in the eyes of customers! Overworked, unsupported, disgruntled employees will scuttle customer loyalty just as fast as ill-trained or incompetent ones. Well-trained employees who like their jobs are most likely to satisfy your customers.
- Be proactive
Identify and anticipate customer needs. The better you know your customers, the better you become at anticipating their needs, so get feedback, ask questions, and communicate with customers so that you are aware of their problems and upcoming needs.
- Treat customers like people
A customer is not an account number. A customer is not a sales statistic. A customer is a person. Call them by name. Be courteous, be respectful, and be appreciative. Treat your customer the way your customer wants to be treated. Customers are people too!
- Pay attention
Give customers your undivided attention. Make them your priority. Remember that when a customer needs something, it is not an interruption – it is your purpose for being there.
- Ask questions and LISTEN
Your service people should be trained to ask lots of questions and really focus on the customer’s answers. Don’t assume you know what’s going on with the customer – let them tell you. Listen to their words and tone of voice; watch their body language. If you ask good questions and listen to the answers, you can gain valuable insight into customers’ emotional and practical needs.
- If it is not right, make it right
When something goes wrong, apologize. Own the problem and take the burden off your customer. Handle problems promptly and let them know what you are doing. If a mistake was made, find a way to make it up to your customer.
- Take down the hoops
If your customers have to navigate a poorly-designed website, phones that are never answered, and policies that skew everything in your favor, they will take their business elsewhere. Be easy for your customers to deal with. They don’t want to jump through hoops.
- Exceed expectations
Promise less and deliver more! It adds real value to the transaction and doesn’t have to cost you a thing. Customers feel like they are getting more for less if you provide service beyond their expectations. Delivering more than they anticipate will keep them coming back.
- Ask for feedback
To find out what customers think, you have to ask them. Solicit feedback and make it easy for customers to register comments or complaints. Listen carefully to what they say, be open to their feedback, and make changes as warranted.
- Follow up
Remember that service doesn’t end when the customer walks out the door. Follow up to make sure the customer is satisfied. Ask if he has any problems or concerns. Support after the sale or checking in after a service call demonstrates real concern for your customers and their experience with you. Show them you care!