Customer Service

In Business, Good Customer Service is the Basics

Afavorable first impression is the basis of customer service. You begin providing service the moment you respond to a customer who comes into your business, calls you on the telephone, emails you, or posts on social media. When customers physically walk through your door, they take a mental snapshot of you and your surroundings. Without even thinking about it, they form a first impression. First impressions are also formed over the telephone and through online contact. How you speak, how well you listen, the words you choose, and how you write and respond all contribute to first impressions. If a customer’s first impression is favorable, you have laid the foundation for providing great customer service. If the first impression is not favorable, you will have to dig deeper to begin building your foundation.

Being courteous is the basis of customer service. Customers appreciate courteous treatment. As young children, we learned basic courtesies: to say “please” and “thank you”; to pay attention and not to interrupt when other people speak; to treat others with respect; to play fairly; to say “I’m sorry.” As adults, we sometimes forget how important these words and actions are. Courtesy words, phrases, and behaviors contain powerful messages. They show that you care.

A positive attitude is the basis of customer service. Customers appreciate a positive attitude. A great attitude can help overcome a poor first impression. Similarly, a negative attitude can destroy a favorable first impression.

Being truthful and acting in an ethical manner is the basis of customer service. Honesty is always the best policy. When you follow through on commitments and stay accountable for your actions, you show your customers that you value them and that they can rely on you to do the right thing.

By combining a favorable first impression, courteous treatment, a positive attitude, and ethical behaviors, you build a strong customer service foundation. Add effective communication skills, and you will be on your way to establishing long-lasting relationships with your customers. Once you master these customer service basics, learn how to effectively communicate, and develop skills to build strong relationships, you will confidently handle any customer in any situation.

When you work with customers continuously, it is easy to begin taking them for granted. Taking customers for granted is never acceptable. When you do, you stop caring about how you treat them. Eventually, you may view customers as though they are intruders who take you away from your work. This was the view Bob’s employees projected. To them, stocking shelves and talking to each other were more important. When you do not treat your customers well, you may soon find you do not have many customers to help.

Customers have been conditioned to expect mediocre service and, when they are given mediocre service, they will have mediocre attitudes about the business. When customers are valued and treated with courtesy and respect, they are more apt to do repeat business with you. Remember the important lesson you learned as a child: Always treat others the way you want to be treated. Treat others well, and they are more likely to treat you well.

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