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The Pillars and Potholes of Excellent Customer Service


With all the challenges of our current market with the growing usage of TNCs and balancing consumer desires for convenience and affordability with profit margins, it can be hard to consistently deliver excellent customer service.  Here’s a brief refresher on the pillars of excellent customer service—and fundamental customer service potholes to avoid.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Seems easy enough, right?  As with any relationship, be it a personal or a business one, each one starts with respect. “One of the key principles for building relationships is to make the other person feel important, and do it sincerely,” according to business legend Dale Carnegie.  The very core of customer service is making customers feel valuable and important. The easiest way to show respect for your customer is to provide your full attention and polite, friendly attitude.

Be Honest as Abe

Ever hear the adage, under promise and over deliver? Don’t promise something you cannot deliver. Nothing destroys trust faster than broken promises. Don’t underprice and then add on additional fees and extra charges. Establish clear return and refund policies. Deliver on time, or even earlier. Respond and follow-up when you say you will. Be consistent in delivering the services you say you provide in your correspondence and in your marketing.

Be Responsible

Professionalism in customer service implies that you are ready to take responsibility for the problems or negative experiences that customers are having with your company, products or services. This means that you are ready to sincerely apologize to a customer on behalf of your business, even when a problem or a situation that was not your fault at all. Apologize and do your best to make sure the issue gets fixed as quickly and smoothly as possible. “I’m sorry” goes a long way in transforming a bad customer experience into a good, and even long lasting one.

Empathy Goes a Long Way

Sometimes, putting yourself in your customer’s shoes before responding can give you a better idea of how to solve the problem. I am sure we can all relate to having a frustrating experience in our own lives with unsatisfactory customer service.  Recall that instance and think about how you would have felt if the person handling your complaint treated you differently. Remember how it feels to get frustrated or neglected when you look for support and assistance? Would you want your customers feel this way, too?  Putting yourself in your customer’s shoes can give you a valuable insight on customer expectations, service and sometimes, how to improve that service.

Practice Gratitude

Saying “Thank You” to the people who support your business won’t take you much effort but it will definitely show how grateful you are that they choose your service. Expressing gratitude can distinguish you from the sea of sameness and provide valuable duty of care reminders to your customers.

Customer Service Potholes to Dodge

Don’t Over-Complicate Things

Today’s consumers are sophisticated, experienced and technically savvy, but they still expect that the process of contacting you is easy and straightforward. It’s essential to make sure your customers have easy access to support when it is needed. Be sure to have several verticals that your customers can use to resolve their concerns, whether it be phone, e-mail, Live Chat, FAQs, self-service, social media channels and more.

Lose the ‘Tude

Don’t become numb to your customer’s concerns --indifference kills customer service. It means you just don’t care anymore. Don’t let your exposure to dozens or hundreds of problems you encounter on a daily basis make you indifferent to individual customer concerns. Your job is to take care and make any customer’s problem your own problem.

Customers Are More Than Transactions

 “Care about a customer’s heart, not just her pocketbook,” as Apple’s former retail chief Ron Johnson once put it. Don’t treat people as one-time transaction--always do all your best to build strong and long-lasting relationship. Demonstrate a true interest in doing business with them and stay in touch to nurture the relationship.

Don’t Ignore Valuable Customer Feedback

Putting customers’ thoughts into the focus of your business strategy is a good practice. Make sure you listen to your customers. Be open to any kind of suggestions or feedback they might have--they are the people who want your company to perform better, so let them share their opinion about their experience with you.  Be sure to practice gratitude with them and let them know that you really care about what they think and expect of you.

Don’t Discourage Complaints

You will never be able to satisfy every customer, every single time no matter what. Whether it’s a complaint based on something that could have been avoided or not, they are inevitable, and should not be discouraged.  Every complaint is an opportunity to find and fix a problem. Each complaint can direct your attention to the areas that need improvement.

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