7 Steps to Great Customer Service

I read an article by Joe Takash over the weekend about some simple strategies to keep in mind when trying to deliver great customer service.

The bold titles are Joe’s suggestions. My comments and own suggestions are below the titles.

1. Make a great first impression.
You only have one chance at making a first impression. How you start off a customer or customer service experience will definitely set the tone for the rest of the experience.

2. Be a name-learning machine.
It takes more than just learning names. You also want to be able to use names. Be able to recognize faces, names when they are written out (such as in emails or tickets), etc. When you know and can use names, it will make a huge difference.

3. Be a fantastic listener.
This is extremely important. Great customer service representatives are even better listeners. They also practice “active listening” where they confirm what the customer is saying, ask appropriate questions, and subtly poke around for additional (and useful) information.

4. Create common ground.
The article suggest asking questions like “did you do anything fun over the weekend”, “where are you from?”, “are you looking forward to X,” etc. to help create some common ground. Creating some common ground not only helps the customer service experience by killing what would otherwise be dead air, but if it works out well, could make it a memorable experience.

5. Show constant appreciation.
Showing constant appreciation according to Joe is sending handwritten thank you cards (constantly). Send them to people who refer you customers, new customers, returning customers, etc. The point is to show you appreciate their business, their thinking of you, and them choosing you. You can also call or see customers to show your thanks.

6. Apologize and admit fault.
Not much else needs to be added to this point. It is important to admit it when you mess up. It is even more important to handle those mess ups properly. One of my favorite customer service quotes is “the road to success is paved with well handled mistakes.” It makes a lot of sense.

7. Be positively contagious.
Joe ends the article by suggesting that you should be positive. Use positive words, be friendly, show your passion. Yawning, negative terms, complaining, etc. won’t make for a great customer service experience. Be happy! Smile!

4 Responses to “7 Steps to Great Customer Service”

  1. Glenn Ross said:

    Oct 30, 07 at 7:46 pm

    8. Exceed the need. All of the aboved is fine, but the customer had a need when he or she contacted you. Exceed that need. Otherwise, as we say in Texas, you’re all hat and no cattle.-)

    Glenn

  2. Service Untitled said:

    Oct 31, 07 at 9:45 pm

    Glenn, great point! Exceeding the need is so critical. Under promise and over deliver!

  3. Steph said:

    Jan 09, 08 at 4:07 pm

    I have been googling all afternoon looking for a simple, distinct list of good customer service. This is exactly what I needed for an employee handbook I am making, crediting you of course. Thanks!

  4. Service Untitled said:

    Jan 10, 08 at 3:05 am

    Steph,

    Great! Glad the post was useful to you.