Very often we forget to be nice. I am as guilty as you are. Last week, a woman spilled a cup of coffee in Starbucks and approached the counter and demanded a new cup—as if it were some force that Starbucks put on her to make her drop her coffee. She was not nice about it. But Starbucks being Starbucks gladly replaced her coffee, apologized for the problem, and cleaned up the mess. The customer walked out happy, and Starbucks put another notch in their customer service “headboard.”
But in the end, it was not that hard. Yes, the customer was probably an a**, but resolving it took minimal effort with maximum return. I began to think about what makes a great customer service experience and came up with a list… certainly not complete, and I encourage you to add your tips in the comments. Some of these you have read before on TRO. Some may be new. And others may be obvious. But, the key to making them work, is to perform them consistently. Sporadic levels of outstanding customer service will not do anyone any favors!
Here’s what I have… what do you have?
- Smile when greeting a customer in person and on the phone. It’s so simple and one of the top things that Mike Marchev preaches.
- Don’t use colloquialisms. Address your clients like the professional you are. “Guys,” “Gals,” and any version of “youse” need to be banished.
- Ask how you can help. Simple, but effective. Let them know you are there for them.
- The live customer standing in front of you takes precedence over someone who calls on the phone. A phone caller does not know if you are busy or not. We all have voicemail. Use it.
- Never judge a book by its cover. Never make assumptions about your clients’ ability to afford a trip. I once was told I could not afford a new car because I happened to be wearing jeans and a t-shirt. I ended up buying the car from a competitor for cash.
- Never say you don’t know. Today’s customer knows a lot; perhaps more than you. If indeed you do not know, do not try and BS your way through. “Let me find out” is a perfectly good and honest answer.
- Make sure your client leaves (or receives) everything they need the first time. Essential travel documents, destination guides, phone numbers, vouchers, tickets, reservation numbers, etc. There is nothing worse than having to deliver something that you simply forgot.
For me, those are the biggies. What do you think?