Did you know it takes only one second to lose a customer? Can you afford to lose any because of bad customer service?

Excellent customer service is the key to attracting new clients and keeping existing ones. Every business (that deal with people) from small to large, online to off-line should train their staff this essential skill.

Sadly, from my experience, some staff are not aware of how to deal with customers. It’s disheartening when you pay for goods and you’re greeted with a blank stare or rude attitude. I’ve experienced it from supermarkets, stores, popular high street clothes shops, market stalls and telephone providers.

My latest experience happened a few weeks ago.

I went to a local pharmacy to buy a few items. After queuing up for a long time, a light came on from the till that was ready to serve me. I handed the items to the cashier. She took them from me and scanned them through the till. Instead of telling me how much I owed, she simply put out her hand towards me for payment. I gave her the money and she gave me my change. I accepted it and said, “Thank you.”

She didn’t reply. She didn’t smile. She didn’t even make eye contact with me.

In a few words, her customer service skills were poor. The result? I’m in no rush to go back to that particular store.

If you’re running a business and want your customers to keep coming back to you. You have to go that extra mile to keep them satisfied. And happy.

A happy customer is a returning customer. An unhappy customer will go to your competitors.

 

What does washing dishes have to do with excellent customer service?

Quite a lot it seems…

Read on to discover the connection.

Tea spoon: Feed your customers with friendliness, care and respect. Respond to queries and complaints quickly. And treat them the way you would like them to treat you. In addition, train staff how to talk, interact and deal with customers without resorting to rudeness. They should know the basic rules of how to deal with people such as:

  • be polite
  • be friendly
  • don’t answer back
  • smile often
  • make eye contact
  • be quick to listen
  • be slow to speak
  • be patient

The best example of good customer service is your behaviour to your staff. If you treat them right, they will mirror that behaviour and treat customers right.

 

Knife: Do you cut off your customers when they’ve got a complaint? Is your motto the customer is always right? Or are you the one that’s always right?

Listen to your customers’ complaints. You can learn a lot from them about your staff’s attitude, the product or services you’re selling. Make your customers feel valued by letting them know you appreciate their feedback, whether it’s negative or positive. Do all you can, to find a suitable solution to their complaints. And always keep to your words, by doing what you promise to do.

 

Plate: Serve customers the best of your products. Don’t serve them leftovers by cutting corners to save money. It might blow up in your face one day. Have you ever bought clothes from those ‘Everything is £5 shops?’ Most of the clothes look decent. But after a few washes, the colours merge into each other, fade or the stitching rips.

The worst thing about these stores is that they don’t have a refund policy. It’s exchange only. So, you either end up with another defective garment or lose your money. What’s worse, they have no idea how to deal with customers respectfully. I’ve been a victim of their shoddy customer service. One visit was enough for me. And I’m sure I’m not the only customer they lost.

 

Glass: Satisfy their thirst for more of your first-class treatment. Give them a helping-hand by serving them with care and attention. Help your customers choose the best products for their needs by listening attentively.  Don’t be too quick to make a sale just to boost your profit. Make sure you give them what they genuinely need. Greet customers with a warm smile (even if you’re talking to them on the phone) and say thank you. Do this whether they buy from you or not. They’ll remember your hospitality.

 

Frying pan: Don’t beat them over the head with meaningless sales pitch. Show your customers respect. Be their friends by getting to know them. One of the best ways for turning an everyday customer into a loyal, long-term customer is to develop a valuable relationship with them. Reward their loyalty by offering freebies, discounts and special offers. Build up their trust and your customer base will grow, because they will recommend you.

 

Dishwater: Wash away their problems by offering the right solutions. What can you do to give your customers a great shopping experience? Go the extra mile to make them feel like an individual when dealing with you. And not just another number to make up your daily sales.

I heard a story about a new garage that carried out MOT tests on their customers’ cars. After each MOT, they washed and polished every car. They also left a rose on the dashboard for their lady customers. That exceptional customer service grew their business beyond their expectations.

 

Treat your customers with tender loving care. They’ll cherish you and recommend you to their friends and family. A business built on trust, honesty, loyalty and excellent customer service will thrive. Don’t follow the business crowd.  Too many businesses are busy trying to make money. Their employees don’t care about the feelings of the people they’re taking money from. Be different. Train your staff and invest time in your customers to make them feel special.

Feature image via Flickr by Lynn

I'm June Whittle, an experienced and reliable freelance copywriter & blogger, based in London, U.K. I provide high-quality copy for your website or business blog. I will help you get potential customers in your target market. It doesn't matter where you're located. We can connect via Skype, email or telephone.

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