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Articles & Tips on Customer Service

What stops dissatisfied customers from complaining?
If only dissatisfied customers would let us know about problems, we could fix things.  But customers are reluctant to complain.  Here are the four reasons why.

Most policies are an excuse to say “No” to customers
Most policies seem to be written to protect organizations from their staff and customers.  What if policies were written with the customers’ needs in mind?

Company policies can frustrate customers,
drive them to competitors

An example of how company policies can get in the way of service providers using their common sense to do the right thing for the customer.

Understanding the value of first impressions
For many newcomers, their first contact with a community’s medical system comes in the form of a visit to the Emergency Room.  What they experience there influences their assessment of the entire medical system.  Truly, “ER is PR”.

It is always about the customer
Defending yourself, or quoting company policy, is not the correct way to respond to customer criticism.  What is needed is action taken on the customer’s behalf to correct the problem.

Techniques to get rid of customers at quitting time
Here is a tongue-in-cheek look at how so-called service providers let customers know closing time is approaching and that maybe shoppers would like to come back when it is more convenient . . . for the service providers!

A story of after sales service
A seminar participant’s story of how Rolls Royce went the extra mile (actually, many miles) to serve a customer.

Customers just won’t do what they are supposed to do
Shoppers won’t change their habits just because a retailer wants them to do so.  Expecting they will change is a formula for business failure.  Here’s another example.

Beliefs, not words, can be magic
The power of words comes from how they are delivered, not from the words themselves.

When service providers become game show participants
When service providers ignore customers to answer the phone, they convey a message that whoever is on the phone is more important than the customer standing in front of them.

Respecting customers’ values and beliefs is important
A cautionary tale of how a well-known coffee shop chain’s promotion may conflict with customers’ values.

Providing both product and good feelings
Real success occurs when customers leave both happy with their purchases and feeling good about the experience.

Let customers know what you can do
When customers make requests, they don’t want to be told what you can’t do for them – they want to know what you can do on their behalf.

Who is responsible for poor service?
The real blame for poor service should be assigned to business owners and managers who make poor hiring decisions, then fail to provide training, set expectations, or model the behaviours they expect of staff.

Could you eliminate what irritates your customers most?
What a difference it would make for customers if businesses were to find out what irritates them most, and then eliminate the factors.

What makes a customer?
A formula demonstrating that everyone has customers, despite the fact that some resist using the term.

“Disloyalty” program not saving
customers at Save-On-Foods 

Loyalty programs won’t work whenever customers feel they are losing money if they don’t follow the program’s rules.

Complete responses key to satisfying customers
Whether or not a service provider answers a customer’s question completely can make the difference between a satisfied customer who will return and one that goes away dissatisfied and never returns.

What messages are customers reading into your signs?
Look at the signs that your customers read.  What messages are they sending?  Do customers feel that they are welcomed or an inconvenience?


  Service Stars

Stories of simple actions that make ordinary service extraordinary:

A library clerk who knew what to do when technology failed

The waiter who crossed the street to satisfy a customer

The waiter who was dissatisfied with his service... and did something about it

The waiter who practised service recovery after getting off to a bad start

The receptionist who created a positive first impression

The call centre operator who took time to find a way for a customer to use his travel points

The flight attendants who showed pride in their airline

The deli clerk who interrupted her work to help a customer decide

Service providers who use teamwork to satisfy a customer

A restaurant manager who made first-time visitors feel special

A pet store clerk who improvised to meet a customer’s need

A bookstore clerk who searched the store to find the book a customer requested

A gas company representative who educated a customer on home heating

A clothing store that finds the right size and colour anywhere in the country

Hotel staff that did whatever it took from reservation to checkout to make guests’ stay pleasant

A waitress who knows her regulars’ preferences

A government department that had made its automated answering system work for customers

A meat shop service provider who ensured a customer got what he wanted... and at the best price

A bus driver who smiled, offered advice, and kept riders updated (and recovered his company’s image)

A jewelry store clerk who kept a customer’s watch running on time

A waiter who discovered someone else’s mistake and corrected it immediately

A garbage collector who took a few extra steps

A gas station attendant who sees service as more than just pumping gas


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