Maybe the service or product failed to live up to the sales pitch; perhaps the company concerned failed to answer your emails or phone-calls. Maybe they failed to do what they said they would; or they gave you the good old ‘run-around’ when you called to ask a question or report a problem? Any or all of these issues revolve around one thing and one thing only – terrible customer service! According to eMarketer, customer service is one of the key aspects that will affect a sale,  and it’s especially true for smaller businesses.
Your customers are the reason you’re still in business, and your job is to serve your customers to the best of your ability. If you have an unhappy or upset customer it’s your job to find out why they feel this way and use that information to improve on your service, or your product. Yes, we all know there are difficult customers out there and sometimes there’s just no pleasing them, but the fact remains that without these customers you have no business. Many times client complaints uncover problems or issues that can be improved upon, so always be available to listen to your customers.
Make the decision today to treat all your customers well, because we know that great customer service is the cheapest and best marketing tool available.
Happy, satisfied clients are those people who will be happy to refer you; however the opposite is also true. It’s true that disgruntled customers are more likely to spread the word than happy customers are, so when you give bad customer service you do so at your own peril.
Providing great customer service is so easy to do: just be aware, and make it your priority. The next section will give you an easy to follow framework to improve your customer service. Excellent customer service is the intangible that sets you and your company apart from others.
The opposite is also true: when you have outstanding customer service you’ll be able to edge your prices a few points above your competition.
We trust that the following points on the best ways to deliver top-quality customer service will assist you in defining your own workable strategy for servicing your customers. Your customers must be able to contact you, or someone in your company who represents you, should they require service or have a question to ask.
Customers are just ordinary people, and they want to be heard: sometimes all that’s required is that you listen to what they have to say.
If you are trying to deal with an irate, rude, complaining or demanding customer, never lower yourself to their level of behaviour. You’ll never win an argument with a customer: what this means is that, if you do win, you will have alienated the customer and lost their business forever. When staff members are properly trained to provide excellent customer service, they feel empowered to make on-the-spot decisions when dealing with customers. Put these 10 steps into practice: actually get to know your customers, and make them the focus of your business. Of course it depends on the type of business you’re working in, but generally there will be many different people in different areas of your business interacting with your customers.
The issue of ‘who is supposed to be caring for the customer’ can sometimes be a bit confusing. Customers may have to deal with many different sections of a company and, because of this, they can get lost in the shuffle. Where the customer gets lost, or forgotten about, is when those different sections of the company are not communicating very well between themselves.
Customer service should be part of a coordinated system; a process integrating a wide collection of tasks.
We assume your employees have their own individual job descriptions, because that’s how staff members know what’s expected of them. However, a job description shouldn’t just describe tasks and duties, because that’s not a complete job description. It should go much further than that by clearly advising employees that the most important part of their job is providing customers with excellent customer service; and even more than that, their job is to create satisfied and happy customers who want to return and do business with you. Getting your employees to understand that each and every one of them are responsible for giving your customers great service doesn’t mean that you just send out a memo to that effect.
This personality is derived from the unique history of your company, the people employed by the company, the customers you serve, and the company’s traditions and values. A management guru would call all of this ‘corporate culture’.
Even if your business makes and sells exactly the same products as other companies, no two companies will be the same in the way thy produce and market a product, even though they may use physical processes that are very similar. Creating a corporate culture where service is highly regarded is a never-ending job, and it requires the involvement and commitment of top management right down through the ranks. It’s not possible to provide great customer service if it’s not supported by your corporate culture. If you really care about your customers you need to make service commitment a big part of each and every employee’s performance evaluation and, more importantly, their compensation.
There’s no real way of knowing how corporate culture works in a company, because it’s usually not something that’s written down.

Visualize a manager talking to his staff and telling them to be friendly, warm, and inviting to all customers.
It’s called ‘modelling’ in education: in management consulting its known as ‘monkey see, monkey do’. As a manager, it’s up to you to create a service culture, and to show (by your behaviour) what it means to serve.
Imagine what a company could achieve if everyone was on board and delivering great customer service!
Any successful business today understands that great customer service is a vital component to their success, but how can you know for sure that you’re really providing the best service possible?
An important aspect of ensuring you’re providing quality and consistency in all your dealings with customers is to measure the service you’re offering.
Possibly the easiest metric for determining the quality of your customer service is to measure your sales.
Probably the most effective (and certainly the easiest) way of knowing whether your customers are satisfied with the service you offer is simply to ask them. We know that some companies determine their quality of service by the number of complaints received.
By effectively measuring the effect of your customer service you should be able to identify specific weaknesses in your operation.
Regardless of what tool, or tools, you use to evaluate your level of service, it’s the perfect way to identify those specific areas where there’s room for improvement.
If you want to know how you fare when it comes to customer service, check out your competitors. By measuring your customer service against others, you’ll gain an understanding of whether your service level is on par, and whether it needs improvement. And when there’s a lack of customer service it’s usually caused by a lack of customer focus. Strangely, the old saying ‘The customer is always right’ has gone out the window and many businesses seem to be either bored or bothered by their customers. Of course really great customer service delivers over and above expectations, and that’s when your business will be rewarded. It doesn’t matter how low your prices are; if your customer service is poor you’ll lose out on repeat customers. Offer many different ways for your customers to contact you: like phone, email, and social media. If this is not something you can commit to, then you must determine what timeframe would be manageable and be very clear with your customers that this is the timeframe you work within.
We all understand only too well that a customer is often wrong, but it’s not a good idea to start defending yourself: focus on what’s occurred and see how you can best resolve the situation.
If you offer a guarantee, then you must honor it: it you say you’ll respond to emails, respond to them.
Sacrificing long-term relationships to make short-term sales dooms your business to failure.
One very valuable lesson on customer service is, when you do make a mistake, don’t deny it or try to cover it up. Make it very clear what their authority levels are, and ensure they understand completely the customer service principles that apply to your business. When this happens, and it’s a truly collaborative effort between all departments of a company, then no-one needs to worry about ‘who should be caring for the customer’ because the answer is that everyone should be. This assists our company to grow by delighting and satisfying those amazing people who make your position possible – our loyal customers – by (describe)’.
Performance pay scheme is even recommend by the UK Local Government During your periodic performance review, ask how their work impacted customers during the last quarter.
The most powerful way of communicating your company’s culture comes from the behaviour of company managers.
Maybe they did receive a memo saying ‘Your customers must be treated with respect’, however this is not the way they see management behaving.
The problem is that this same manager doesn’t even know her employees names, and hardly ever speak to them.
It doesn’t matter what you call it, you grow your corporate culture by staff members mirroring the actions and behaviour of their managers. When employees work collaboratively with other employees from other departments, they’re providing service to please their customers.
This could be done on an informal basis when they shop in your establishment; you could use email to ask for feedback on your service, or make phone calls to your clients. As an example: maybe customers are dissatisfied with how long they must wait for assistance, or perhaps they’re annoyed because a specific product is never ‘in stock’. We’ve gotten to know each other pretty well over the past few weeks, so why not pour yourself a cup of coffee and get comfy. Make sure all these communication channels are easy to manage; otherwise your level of customer service could take a dive. Customers are usually very accepting providing you’ve been clear with them from the onset, and you follow through.

It’s irritating to anyone to be promised something and then not get it: it’s a surefire way to ruin a relationship. If you want to earn the trust and respect of your customers you must follow through and do what you said you would.
If you’re not sure they’re capable of doing the right thing, then you’ve hired the wrong people. The answer you get should tie in with the compensation offered, particularly if you’ve observed the employee taking action to back up their answer.
This is the only true way employees understand what values the organization holds to – by observing the way their managers behave.
Employees instinctively know that there’s something very different about the actual culture of this company. Managers must become aware of this: how you behave tells your employees what your actual values are. They will learn from your example; so whether you set a good or bad example, this is what your staff members will mirror. It depends on your corporate culture, but ideally your employees will be more than happy to move across functional boundaries and be prepared to work with their counterparts in other departments. Thus, if sales have increased there’s a fair chance that it’s partly due to the service you’re offering.
Perhaps you might create a survey that asks your customers about different aspects of your company and the service they received. This may be true in some cases, however not all disgruntled customers lodge a complaint – they simply walk away and take their business elsewhere.
If you provide many contact points, but you don’t increase your resources and staff, you’ll be spreading yourself too thin. Obviously it’s not ‘right’ that people disrespect you, but at the end of the day you’ll be pleased that you didn’t lower your standards and that you remained respectful. From a customer’s point of view we all know how annoying and time-wasting it is to be waiting for a phone-call, email, or visit from someone who (turns out) had no intention of following through. Perhaps the company newsletter states ‘We must establish good relationships with our customers and get to know them as individuals’, but your staff certainly don’t see top management interacting with customers: they will quickly conclude that this is not the true culture of your company. Obviously this will not be a completely accurate assessment because this increase in sales could be attributed to other factors, such as the economic climate, the season, or price mark-downs. Speak with customers who have dealt with both businesses and ask their opinion on which company provided the best customer service.
We asked a friend of ours, a lovely lady with her own Orlando cleaning business for a recommendation, and she pointed us to the $50 Bissell that was only sold at Walmart.Already not being a fan of Walmart, I decided to buy it online. By simply paying attention to the complete inventory numbers listed on all the labels, Walmart could have sold me a vacuum cleaner and possibly changed my opinion of the Walmart experience. But one inept employee (and no quality control check) flushed my whole experience down the drain.By this point, we really needed that vacuum cleaner and I no longer trusted the online system, so I dragged the heavy box into my car and drove up to the brick-and-mortar Walmart (which I had been trying to avoid in the first place). It was like I was dealing with two different stores, and it made my experience a lot more complicated than it needed to be.I bought the (actual) vacuum while I was at the store (still works great, by the way) and trekked back home with my futon to deal with the online ordering dept. They refunded me without issue, and coordinated a pick-up of the incorrect item from my home.Out of everything that went wrong, this was the only thing that went right. By this point, I had fully expected someone to tell me I had to lug this box down to the post office or a UPS store to ship it back.
Would I be so kind as to send it back or else have the funds charged to my credit card?I told them I would have sent the vacuum, but I never received one.
A company that truly values how they are seen in the eyes of a customer (especially a wronged customer) would have been humiliated by this situation. Walmart was obviously not embarrassed nor did they pay attention to my first response, where I informed them that I received (and sent back) a futon, not a vacuum cleaner.
I told them that I am not a regular Walmart customer and this experience has only sent me running back to Target. I wanted them to know they have permanently lost a customer (I still have not set foot in a Walmart since). I got NOTHING.Walmart not only dropped down a few pegs by delivering the wrong item, they ruined themselves for me by making it impossible to return the futon without a hassle, and they put absolutely zero efforts into trying to retain my business. If Walmart had bent over backwards to take care of me, I might still be (occasionally) shopping there. One unsatisfied customer tells all their friends and family, and now you have a crowd of people who have heard only bad things about your business. Walmart will recover from losing me as a customer, but your small business will be hit a little harder. Consider each customer as a walking, talking, paying testimonial to your business and then strive to keep that customer coming back.I have not stopped talking about how horrible Walmart is.

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