Man's hand striking a very large nail with a very large hammer.

7 ways to nail customer service.

3-minute read

The customer may not always be right (sorry, Mr. Selfridge), but if you want to keep her, you better figure out a way to make her happy.

Now! Not later.

With an endless array of resources and tools to make customer care easy — training programs for brick & mortar store personnel, sophisticated technical tools for selling online, sales coaches for every possible niche — there’s simply no excuse for shoddy customer service.

Website chat function not working? That’s a great way to tick off a potential client.  You’re better off not having a chat box than having one that doesn’t work. !#@/%!!!

If you’re a small company or a startup and don’t have a live person answering the phone, make sure your voice message doesn’t dead end people. Give them some options on how to reach you.

I’ve tried to reach a service provider in the middle of a work day only to hear a message saying. “Sorry, we’re closed now (In the middle of a workday), and no one’s here to help you. Please call back tomorrow.”

Seriously?  Not only can’t I get my question answered but I have to wait 20 hours to even speak to anyone.

Change your voice message if you can’t help a customer.  Give them some other options for how to reach you. Email still works. Or a contact page on your website.

Think “how do I help a customer right now?”

Tomorrow is too late in a world where business is done 24/7 online.

Customer Service Chat
I recently joined a customer service Twitter chat called #CustServ. It “meets” on Tuesday night at 8p CST and lasts for an hour. It’s been around for fourteen years and is still going strong. So you know it must be worthwhile.

Every week features different questions about customer service. So if you ever thought we’d beaten the topic of customer service to death, think again.

Shoutout: In case you’re interested in joining #Custserv chat on TUESDAY 9 pm ET/6 pm PT, reach out to hosts @MarshaCollier and @GregOrtbach on Twitter.

Back to today’s topic…..

Obviously, you’ve never going to be able to make all of your customers happy. But if you don’t satisfy most of them, you’re going to be in trouble.

And satisfying really isn’t sufficient.

Why you need to delight your customers.

Quite simply: if you don’t, there are always eager competitors waiting in the wings!

Think about why you return again and again to shops or websites or service providers. What is it that makes us want to spend our money in some places and not others.

Most of us have favorites. Ever think about why?

As someone whose business depends on excellent customer care, I’m very aware of the type of customer service I receive. And I make it a point to either mention it….to friends or on social media.

Anyone who spends time on social media knows a company can suffer a lot of damage when bad reviews go viral.

So how do you encourage the smiley faces and minimize the bad reviews?

HOW to delight customers.

Here are seven ways:

  1. Be responsive.
    Especially to negative reviews or angry phone calls. The customer may or may not have a valid reason to be angry but that’s not the point. If you don’t respond, you won’t know.
  2. Acknowledge the error.
    If the customer’s anger is justified, this is your opportunity to turn things around and create a fan for life. People forgive. Acknowledging the error or oversight is the second best response on the road to delight. No error? If the customer is wrong (sorry, Marshall Field), address their anger. But don’t apologize for something that’s just a creep sounding off. Say “we’re sorry you had a bad experience” and let it go.
  3. Be authentic.
    In today’s woke world, insincerity feels just plain wrong. We want to do business with people we like and respect. Pretending to give a damn when you really don’t will not win you clients or friends.
  4. Ask for feedback.
    If you’re sincere about making the customer happy, asking for their input on how you can do better says “We want to make things right. We care about you. Your business is important to us.” Who doesn’t want to be heard?
  5. Listen.
    Once you get the feedback….assuming it’s legitimate, do something with it. Asking for input and then ignoring it is worse than if you’d never asked in the first place. But addressing something that would make your business better is a smart move.
  6. Learn from the people who do it best.
    One of the best ways to improve customer service is to learn from the companies that do it best. Pick up the bios of CEOs who built billion-dollar companies. Never a bad idea to learn from the superstars.
  7. Make delighting customers a part of your company culture.
    Then be sure to incorporate it into your branding and new employee onboarding.

How to build delight into your messaging.

I’ve always been intrigued by clever messaging. Especially when it focuses on the customer (as it should).  So the first time I picked up a piece of art I had framed at Artists Frame Service, the little black and yellow tag attached to my package caught my eye (hint: great choice for good grabby design colors).

It said something like “we don’t want you to be satisfied, we want you to be thrilled”. Stuck with me over the years. Today they’ve added stores and  expanded their tagline. It’s now a Thrilled Guarantee.

“We don’t want you satisfied, we want you thrilled. If you’re not 100% thrilled with your order for any reason, let us know and we’ll make it right.”

If that doesn’t tell the client you want them to be happy, I don’t know what does!

And that’s a perfect way to end an article on customer service.

But wait. What would ChatGPT say?

After I wrote this post, I asked ChatGPT for examples of good customer service.  This is what I got.

Text Description automatically generated

Pretty spot on, right?

Took less than 60 seconds to deliver that info. Next time I’ll check with it before I start researching.

Want to read more on customer service?  Here you go:
How to deliver a remarkable customer experience.
Understanding Customer Care.

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Thanks for reading and see you next month!

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