The 12 Fundamentals of Exceptional Customer Service
by Lisa Ford
Customer service is mostly average, mediocre or worse. I find it amazing that the delivery of high quality customer service is so uncommon even with all the talk and focus on the topic. When speaking to groups of CEOs recently, the attendees state that customer service is “not rocket science”. The reality is many of their employees are not delivering the basics. It is tough to move on to a discussion of “customer experience” when the basics are not the standard.
Here is my list of the 12 Fundamentals of Customer Service. The list is short and to the point – no need to elaborate on simple steps that should be the norm for all teams interacting with your customer.
1. Answer your phone. It is a pleasant surprise when real people answer phones and are ready to serve.
2. Respond to emails and social media contacts fast. Engage and acknowledge.
3. Do what you say you are going to do. This strategy solves most problems and creates satisfied customers.
4. Get it right the first time. First time resolution is expected.
5. Fix problems fast. Apologize sincerely and follow up.
6. Stop blaming. Customers don’t care about your internal issues.
7. Listen the first time. Let the customer know you heard them to keep them from repeating.
8. Use the customer’s name. This easy step can make a big difference when done with respect.
9. Make eye contact. When face-to-face, look at the customer and not just acknowledge from a distance.
10. Be sincere and real. Customers are tired of the practiced phrases. Connect and engage.
11.Thank the customer. Leave the customer with a positive impression.
12. Have fun. Customers want to do business with likeable, happy people.