Service your customers will remember

By Desirée Ward    

Great customer service—the stuff that creates loyal customers—often hinges on small actionsCustomer service feedback and carefully (and genuinely) spoken words.

Business people often consider only the people who exchange money for goods or services their customers. But, what about employees? Your spouse? Son? Daughter? Best friend? Are they your customers?

The answer is “yes.” The exchange between a business and a person isn’t necessarily financial. If you do something for a kind word, a good review, or help with the dishes an exchange is made.

No matter who your customers are you have the ability to serve them, make them happy, and make them customers for life— or disappoint and frustrate them. The choice is yours.

Great customer service defines service as, “an act of helpful activity; help; aid.” That means that anything you do to help someone is a service. Customer service, therefore, is any helpful act you do for anyone you come in contact with.

To provide memorable customers service, encourage your employees to find ways to go above-and-beyond in their interactions. It is often the small things that make a memorable experience.

Here are a couple examples:

• A business sends an e-mail to new customers explaining how to find its offices. It attaches a video with a visual tour of landmarks, ending in a display of the office’s exterior. All that to make it easier for the new customer to find its hard-to-locate office.

• You expect good service and elegance at an expensive resort—personalized service at the check-in desk; crystal glassware and perfectly folded napkins in the dining room; and luxurious towels in the bathroom. But a guest was pleasantly surprised when he looked under the bed to look for a wayward sock: He found a tent card under the bed said that said, “Yes, we clean under here, too!”

The right words

While what you do for the customers is important, sometimes the most difficult part of a customer service encounter is knowing what to say as you help your customers. To make sure words do not fail you, here are some suggestions:

Situation: You want to assure the customer you will help him:

• “I’m going to do everything I can to solve this problem for you.”

• “Certainly, let me take care of that for you.”

• “Let me give you my direct extension [or cell number] in case something else comes up.”

Situation: You want to reassure the customer you understand her problem:

• “Let me make sure I’ve got this right…”

• “What you are saying then, is that…”

Situation: When you get frustrated because of a difficult customer, say to yourself:

• “If we didn’t have customers, they wouldn’t need me.”

• “My attitude is my most important tool.”

• “They’re not mad at me, they’re mad in my direction.”

Situation: You try to move a situation away from blame and into solution:

• “How is it that I can help?”

• “What is it that you would like to see happen?”

• “What would I need to do to make this right?”

Situation: After a successful exchange, you say:

• “Thank you for giving us a chance to fix this.”

• “I’m glad you called.”

• “Thank you for your loyalty.”

Desiree Ward

Desiree Ward

Desirée Ward is executive director at Alcorn, Ward, & Partners, Inc., (, a firm devoted to training and e-learning. She can be reached at 904-343-5554 or at

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