10 rules for out­stand­ing cus­tomer ser­vice

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Cus­tomer ser­vice is an in­te­gral part of our job and should not be seen as an ex­ten­sion of it. A com­pany’s most vi­tal as­set is its cus­tomers. With­out them, we would not and could not ex­ist in busi­ness. When you sat­isfy your cus­tomers, they not only help you grow by con­tin­u­ing to do busi­ness with you, but rec­om­mend you to friends and as­so­ciates.

So, what are the key el­e­ments of a suc­cess­ful cus­tomer ser­vice prac­tice? The Ten Rules of Cus­tomer Ser­vice:

You are in busi­ness to ser­vice cus­tomer needs, and you can only do that if you know what your cus­tomers want. When you truly lis­ten to your cus­tomers, they let you know what they want and how you can pro­vide good ser­vice. Af­ter all, the cus­tomer pays our salary and makes our job pos­si­ble.

Do you know what three things are most im­por­tant to your cus­tomer? Take the time to iden­tify cus­tomer needs by ask­ing ques­tions and con­cen­trat­ing on what the cus­tomer is re­ally say­ing. Lis­ten to their words, tone of voice, body lan­guage, and most im­por­tantly, how they feel. Be­ware of mak­ing as­sump­tions think­ing you in­tu­itively know what the cus­tomer wants. Ef­fec­tive lis­ten­ing and un­di­vided at­ten­tion are par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant on the

1. Who’s



2. Be a good lis­tener.

show floor where there is a great dan­ger of pre­oc­cu­pa­tion look­ing around to see to whom else we could be sell­ing to.

Cus­tomers don’t buy prod­ucts or ser­vices. They buy good feel­ings and so­lu­tions to prob­lems. Most cus­tomer needs are emo­tional rather than log­i­cal. The more you know your cus­tomers, the bet­ter you be­come at an­tic­i­pat­ing their needs. Com­mu­ni­cate reg­u­larly so that you are aware of prob­lems or up­com­ing needs.

3. Iden­tify and an­tic­i­pate needs.

4. Make cus­tomers





7. Know how to apol­o­gise.

im­por­tant and


6. Ap­pre­ci­ate the power of “Yes”.



Treat them as in­di­vid­u­als. Al­ways use their name and find ways to com­pli­ment them, but be sin­cere. Peo­ple value sin­cer­ity. It cre­ates good feel­ing and trust. Think about ways to gen­er­ate good feel­ings about do­ing busi­ness. Cus­tomers are very sen­si­tive and know whether or not you re­ally care about them. Thank them ev­ery time you get a chance. On the show floor be sure that your body lan­guage con­veys sin­cer­ity. Your words and ac­tions should be con­gru­ent.

Your or­gan­i­sa­tion may have the world’s best sys­tems for get­ting things done, but if cus­tomers don’t un­der­stand them, they will get con­fused, impatient and an­gry. Take time to ex­plain how your sys­tems work and how they sim­plify trans­ac­tions. Be care­ful that your sys­tems don’t re­duce the hu­man el­e­ment of your or­gan­i­sa­tion.


Al­ways look for ways to help your cus­tomers. When they have a re­quest (as long as it is rea­son­able) tell them that you can do it. Fig­ure out how af­ter­wards. Look for ways to make do­ing busi­ness with you easy. Al­ways do what you say you are go­ing to do.

When some­thing goes wrong, apol­o­gise. It’s easy and cus­tomers like it. They may not al­ways be right, but the cus­tomer must al­ways win. Deal with prob­lems im­me­di­ately and let cus­tomers know what you have done. Make it sim­ple for cus­tomers to com­plain. Value their com­plaints. As much as we dis­like it, it gives us an op­por­tu­nity to im­prove. Even if cus­tomers are hav­ing a bad day, go out of your way to make them feel com­fort­able.

Since the fu­ture of all com­pa­nies lies in keep­ing cus­tomers happy, think of ways to el­e­vate your­self above the com­pe­ti­tion. Con­sider the fol­low­ing:

- What can you else­where?

- What can you do to fol­low up and thank peo­ple even when they don’t buy? - What can you give a cus­tomer that is to­tally un­ex­pected?

En­cour­age and wel­come sug­ges­tions about how you could im­prove. There are sev­eral ways in which you can find out what cus­tomers think and feel about your ser­vices: - Lis­ten care­fully to what they say. - Check back reg­u­larly to see how things are go­ing. - Pro­vide a method that in­vites con­struc­tive crit­i­cism, com­ments and sug­ges­tions.

8. Give more than

9. Get



give cus­tomers


10. Treat em­ploy­ees well.

that they can­not


Em­ploy­ees are your in­ter­nal cus­tomers and need a regular dose of ap­pre­ci­a­tion. Thank them and find ways to let them know how im­por­tant they are. Treat your em­ploy­ees with re­spect and chances are they will have a higher re­gard for cus­tomers. Ap­pre­ci­a­tion stems from the top. Treat­ing cus­tomers and em­ploy­ees well is equally im­por­tant.

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