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5 Ways to Make Your Customers Love You for Your Great Service
by C.S. Clarke, Ph.D.

There are many "tricks of the trade" for offering customer service that shines. Here are five that really rock.

1. Speed -- People are impatient. Yes, you know that, but do you use that knowledge to make sure that your customers get what they want as fast as humanly possible? If you want to distinguish yourself from your competition, the one thing that will get you the most attention is your ability to deliver fast. Witness the success of the Amazon Prime program. Folks are willing to pay about $80 a year to join a program that provides free two-day shipping on a great deal of Amazon's inventory.

2. Friendly attention -- Whether you welcome them on the phone or at your workplace, people want you to be upbeat, cheerful and focused on them. If you are distracted and trying to talk to someone on the phone while checking out a customer at the register, for example, you are telling that customer he or she is unimportant. People want to feel you are glad they came into your store or workplace or called to inquire about a purchase.

3. Real help -- Thinking about friendly attention, people want your actual assistance in finding what they are looking for. They don't want you to simply try to sell them what you have, regardless of what they want. They want you to say something like, "Oh, yes, I know what you mean. We don't have one of those right now, but I can get one of our other stores to send it over or I can have it sent to your home. Let me show you a picture of it in our inventory book, to make sure that's what you want." Or "Yes, it's in our small appliances section. Let me take you there and make sure it's on the shelf. If it isn't, I can get it from inventory."

4. Say yes, even if you are saying no -- Expanding on the "real help" idea, remember that helping people generally means being able to say yes. Most people will say something like "No, but..." when they can't give someone what they want or need. No one wants to hear the word "No." It's scary. If you start with a "no," your customer will remember you as someone who couldn't help them -- even if it turns out that you helped them!

The trick is this: say it in positive terms. Say, "Yes. I know exactly who can get that for you. Let me give them a call and set it up." Or, "You're in luck! I just talked to Sam yesterday and he is offering that service on your side of town. Here's his number. Be sure to tell him I referred you and he'll put you at the top of his list."

Always take a "can-do" attitude. Whether you are able to actually perform the services or not. Because your customer will always remember you as the person who said "yes" and got it done.

5. Show your gratitude -- As you can tell from what I've said already, your customers/clients want to feel special. You know it's important to thank your customers/clients for their business. Be sure to do it in a way that makes them feel special to you. Practice a hundred different ways to express thanks. Learn to say things like, "It was good to see you here again. Stop by whether you are buying something or not. I enjoyed talking to you."

When I say "practice" I mean rehearse. Take the time to write out at least a hundred different special ways to say "Thank you, I appreciate your business." Rehearse saying them with warmth and sincerity. Practice until you can be sure you don't sound rehearsed.

I learned this trick when I was a child, visiting a great-uncle who had a variety shop in a small city. He had something different to say in the way of "goodbye and thank you" to every customer who entered his store. Including those who didn't buy anything. His customers loved him and he did quite well. He created an atmosphere that was so personally welcoming to everyone that everyone who visited wanted to return. And they did.



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