For years my passion has been helping entrepreneurs grow and profit.
How that's accomplished depends a lot on companies developing better ways to communicate with their customers.
Most businesses go out of their way to attempt to give good customer service. Some make it; some don't.
Most customers go out of their way looking for companies that give them great customer service. Some find it and, alas, some don't.
Trying to explain this to both sides is not rocket science or brain surgery. It's plain-old common sense.
But you and I know common sense is not out there. There is a mass of grey/average out there. You don't want to be in it, so choose to rise above it.
Customers love to vent. They love to report on how badly they've been handled. And today with the Internet, it's sad and amazing how stuff goes viral so quickly. I cannot count the number of articles out there on customer service. Some are good, some not; some have new ideas; some speak the old tried and true.
To start off the New Year right, here are 15 common sense customer service tips:
1. Please and thank you always have beenand always will bepowerful words, and they're seldom overused.
2. You're welcome is the best replacement for no problem.
3. Sorry 'bout that is not an apology. It's a cliché. My apologies is much better.
4. A frown is a smile upside down. Stand on your head if you must; but SMILE, darn it!
5. You cannot do two things well at once. Pay attention to the call or the customer.
6. One word answers for emails or in person are considered cold and rude. Three words make a sentence.
7. Learn what phrases frustrate your customers. They're probably the same ones that bother you.
8. When was the last time you sent flowers to someone just because?
9. Drop a personal handwritten note to a client and just say, Thanks for being a good client.
10. Hey how 'ya doin'? is not a great way to start up a conversation.
11. Out with friends or family? Put the cell phone away. Talk for 30 minutes. (If you remember how.)
12. Email manners? The same as phone and in person.
13. The old don't tell 'em what you can't do; tell 'em what you can do applies to most, if not all, customer interactions.
14. Get excited!
15. Oh, and remember to smile. That needed to be said twice.
Nancy Friedman's Op-Ed columns appear periodically in Tire Business. She is president of Telephone Doctor Inc., an international customer service training company based in St. Louis. She can be reached via email at [email protected] or by phone at 314-291-1012. Her website is www.nancyfriedman.com.