by Dr. Stephanie A. Parson
It has been said that positive customer service has the
following characteristics: it is a surprise to the customer, it
is greater than the customer's expectation, it is whimsical and
so superb that it generates a positive buzz among other
customers - and their friends.
From this we can learn that treating customers well depends upon seeing them as people
who always deserve your respect, assistance and gratitude.
What are some strategies your employees can take to create a
positive experience for customers?
Here are some tips:
1. Maintain a positive attitude. This is the most important element in delivering a
positive experience to your customers. Appear eager to solve
their concern. Take a long-term viewpoint of the importance of
maintaining a relationship with each customer. Such goodwill
will produce repeat business.
2. Actively listen to the customer's
needs/concerns/frustrations. Verify and clarify what you are hearing from your customer
before you begin to act. Nothing is more frustrating to the
customer than having to repeat his/herself because the employee
is not listening OR because you are stalling for time (my
3. Keep in mind that your customers may be very frustrated and
not be at their best behavior. Stay focused on your goal - which is to resolve the issue.
4. Be honest and clear in your communications. Admit when your company has caused the problem and provide
unwelcome information directly, kindly and in positive terms
5. Acknowledge the customer's frustrations. When your company caused the problem, remember not to
criticize the company!
6. Look for solutions which allow a win-win solution. Don't blame customers for their mistakes - sometimes we as
customers get it wrong.
7. Confirm that the solution is agreed by the customer and the organization's objectives for
8. Resolve the problem. Do what you said you were going to do, keep the customer
informed and follow-up with the customer to confirm
9. Go one step beyond what your customer expects.
10. Always thank customers. Treat them as valued partners in your organization's ability
to achieve its strategic objectives.
11. Provide the basic principles of service. My favorite office supply company always welcomes me when I
walk through their doors. The greeting is always upbeat and
excited - making me feel welcomed.
12. Ensure all employees (customer facing and non-customer
facing) understand the organization's objectives and values
Some Additional Thoughts for Improving Customer Service
Know your customers and go beyond their expectations... make
them say "WOW!"
Be passionate about customer relationships.
Remember that only extremely satisfied customers are
genuinely loyal; don't assume that repeat customers are loyal
customers. Your positive
attitude toward your customers does not mean that the
relationship is mutual (you could be the only game in town...
Customers who feel appreciated, respected, valued and
recognized are loyal because they have an emotional connection
to your company.
Only use technology which supports the customer relationship.
Hire the best of those who can become the best - train and
develop them and do everything to keep them in the team.
Offer services which are above the norm within your industry.
When mistakes happen, treat them as opportunities.
Experience your own business as your customers do (Have you
seen Undercover Boss?).
You are probably less customer focused than you think (check
all levels of customer interfaces).
Pay attention to the little things - anticipate your
customer's needs before they become aware of them. If you listen
closely, your customers will tell you how to impress them.
Customer satisfaction is worthless... Customer Loyalty is
Good customer relationships arise from your culture... not your
programs or initiatives. For example, how you treat your
employees is an indicator of how you treat your customers. Hmmm!
A customer focused strategy should develop a relationship
with customers which nurtures commitment and cultivates a
long-lasting loyalty (both ways). It can be viewed as an
attitude which relies upon genuine and expressed respect for the
customer. It is an extension of your brand instilling trust,
confidence and reliability.
About the Author
Dr. Stephanie Parson is the president of Crowned Grace
International. She and her team deliver over 35 Leadership: From
Ordinary to Extraordinary™ workshops around the world. Dr.
Parson has also held executive level roles at Walt Disney World
(Vice President), Parsons Brinckerhoff (Vice President & CIO),
The Seagram Company (Director) and as a commissioned officer in
the US Air Force. For more information, contact Dr. Parson
and her team at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit