Saturday, February 23, 2008

Are you in Control of Customer Service?

On one of the RYZE Networks I am active on (Small Business Think Tank), the question of the day a few days ago was regarding Customer Service and how we react to bad service.

Here’s what I wrote:

It is rare that I have a bad service experience, although that was not always the case :).

In order for the experience to be pleasant for me, I consider it my job to make it pleasant for the person providing the service. I do that by working to change the server's attitude BEFORE it becomes bad. How? By checking MY Attitude beforehand and beginning with a smile. I have found when I am in a rush and seem annoyed, it is projected to the sales person and if they too are having a bad day, it just escalates the situation. You would be surprised just how much of the service equation is in our control.

I usually begin by using her or his name - why? Because most people don't. By addressing the person by name, it creates a familiarity which disarms most people from being rude. I then ask their opinion about something relative to what I want. If its dinner, I ask what they suggest or what's good on the menu, what's the most popular or even what sells out the quickest. I might even ask what they would choose? On more than one ocassion the server has said to me "Oh, I NEVER eat here!" It's a great conversation starter. And when you engage them, they are more likely to push your order through - especially when you are in a hurry.

If there is something to compliment the person about (such as her smile, his tie or another personal attribute) I do so. Maybe the person isn't having a good day because the last person they waited on just did a number on their self-esteem so I figure it's my job to balance the scales.

At the end of EVERY transaction I always say thank you for the great service and wish them a great day.

BTW, I learned a lot of these techniques from my dear friend BOB BURG, who is the author of Endless Referrals and Winning Without Intimidation. He has a wonderful newsletter of the same title which is filled with tips to make every interaction with another end on a positive note.

What's Your Experience?


Karen O'Bannon said...

My dad used to often say it pays to be nice, and my mother would always see to it that I spoke to the pastor at the end of service every Sunday. These two things taught me early in life that it is important to be pleasant to others and recognize their contribution however big or small. I also know from first hand experience that waiters in particular do appreciate a pleasant customer. In the same way a rude customer can ruin a person's day, a nice customer can make a person's day. Being nice does pay.

Virtual Woman's Day said...

Karen you are so right.

One thing my mom always use to say and told me that if I remembered this one thing in life, life would be good and a whole lot easier.

She said "either everyone is important, or noone is."

Thanks for your comments!


Beverly Mahone said...

The golden rule is to "treat others the way you would want to be treated." Unfortunately, we live in a demanding--do it my way or no way--it's all about me world where we tend to forget another's feelings. I admit I have been guilty--especially when I am under stress. It's not excusable by any means. It just means when I'm having a bad day, I should stay at home and not inflict my attitude on anyone else.

The customer definitely dictates the kind of customer service he or she will receive.

This is a great post!

Kathie said...

Hey Heidi, we must be sisters! I do exactly the same thing you do too. It just makes the whole thing a much better experience and you come away feeling good because you've made the other person feel good. A win-win for all!

alkrauza said...



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