10 Do’s and Don’ts of Excellent Customer Service

10 Do's and Don'ts of Excellent Customer Service
10 Do’s and Don’ts of Excellent Customer Service

These days, the phrases “go above and beyond for the best customer service experience”, “the customer is always right” and “the customer is king” have become one of the most cliched and repeated in marketing. Business owners, marketing directors and managers across-the-board keep on being focused on delivering over-the-top customer service experience. And yet, poor customer service still exists and unfortunately seems all too common. Are we perhaps overlooking some fundamentals in the pursuit of excellence?

Today, I would like to take you to the basics and share with you a short and clear list of customer service essentials. Most of them are fairly common knowledge, and they won’t take you much effort to follow, but still they are absolutely critical to ensure you perform your job professionally and serve your customers right.

5 Fundamental Do’s of Customer Service

1. Respect your customer

Any relationship, be it a personal or a business one, starts with respect. As Dale Carnegie stated, one of the key principles for building relationships is to make the other person feel important, and do it sincerely. Customer service is all about making customers feel valuable and important. Any customer deserves your full attention and polite, friendly attitude. That’s the easiest way to show that you really care and generate a wholesome experience that lasts .

2. Be Honest

Nothing destroys trust faster than broken promises. So always do what you promised. Be fair about prices, additional fees and extra charges. Establish clear return and refund policies. Deliver on time, or even earlier. Respond and follow-up when you say you will. Provide the services you say you provide in your correspondence and in your marketing. As the old adage goes, honesty is the best policy. It certainly holds true for good customer service.

3. Take Responsibility

Professionalism in customer service implies that you are ready to take responsibility for the problems or negative experiences that customers are having with your company, products or services. This means that you, as a front-line company representative, are ready to sincerely apologize to a customer on behalf of your business, even when a problem or a situation that caused customer’s frustration was not your fault at all. Apologize and do your best to make sure the issue gets fixed as quickly and smoothly as possible.

4. Always Put Yourself in The Customer’s Shoes

Have you ever tried putting yourself in the place of the customer before addressing their request? It probably comes with experience. I mean, personal experience of your own where you encountered unsatisfactory customer service. Could you recall how it feels to get frustrated or neglected when you look for support and assistance? Would you let your customers feel this way, too? Let this unpleasant situation teach you something – always think of how you look like from a customer’s perspective.

5. Express Your Gratitude

Words of gratitude will make your customers feel appreciated for their loyalty to your brand. Saying “Thank You” to the people who support your business won’t take you much effort but it will definitely show how grateful you are that they choose your product or service. Also, it shows you appreciate the opportunity to be helpful and provide assistance to the customer.

5 Essential Don’ts of Customer Service

1. Don’t Make Things Overly Complicated

Never underestimate the inexperience of your customers. Today’s consumers are much more sophisticated, experienced and technically savvy, but they still expect that the process of contacting your customer service is easy and straightforward. You need to make sure your customers have easy access to support when it is needed. It goes without saying that your customer service needs to include several, if not all, of the tools available today, including phone, e-mail, Live Chat, FAQs, self-service, social media channels and more.

2. Don’t Be Indifferent

Indifference kills customer service. It means you just don’t care anymore. Yes, you can call it an occupational hazard and attribute it to dozens or hundreds of problemds you encounter on a daily basis. But for me, it is an alarming indicator. Things should not run their course this way for a customer service professional. Your job is to take care and make any customer’s problem your own problem. I recommend reading these 2 posts here and here if you would like to dig into this problem deeper and how you can solve it.

3. Don’t Treat Customers as Transactions

As Apple’s former retail chief Ron Johnson once put it, “Care about a customer’s heart, not just her pocketbook.” In other words, don’t treat people coming to your website or office as one-time transaction, do all your best to build strong and long-lasting relationship. Show a true interest in doing business with them and stay in touch to nurture the relationship.

4. Don’t Ignore Customer Feedback

Make sure you listen to your customers. They are the people who want your company to perform better, so let them share their opinion about their experience with you, keep open to any kind of suggestions or feedback they might have. Let them know that you really care about what they think and expect of you. Putting customers’ thoughts into the focus of your business strategy is a good practice. And it usually pays off in spades.

5. Don’t Be Afraid of Complaints

No matter how hard you try, you can’t satisfy all your customers all the time. Complaints are inevitable, so don’t discourage them. As Janelle Barlow and Claus Moller stated in their book, “A complaint is a gift“. In other words, any complaint is an opportunity to find and fix a problem. The more complaints the better, as they direct your attention to the areas that need improvement.

What Would You Add?

Are there any other fundamental DOs and DON’Ts in customer service that you would like to add? Feel free to share your thoughs as a comment below. And as always, thank you for reading our blog!

Provide Support is a leading software provider in customer service, offering live chat and real-time visitor monitoring tool for websites. Empowering customer service with live chat  www.providesupport.com

Julia Lewis

Julia Lewis

Customer Service Advocate and Social Media Coordinator at Provide Support, LLC
Julia is passionate about customer service excellence, and has more than ten years of experience as a Customer Service Representative. Julia is also a writer and blogger on topics related to customer experience, customer service innovation and live chat support service.
Julia Lewis

9 thoughts on “10 Do’s and Don’ts of Excellent Customer Service

  1. What stood out especially in this post was recognition of the ‘transactional’ attitude so many businesses take. Not in the products or services they provide, but in the manner in which they operate.

    Imagine the lifetime value a customer may represent to your company (and vice versa) when you think longer term, past a single sale to being a go-to resource. It’s really quite remarkable how many businesses are so transaction focussed that they lose business in the midst of the sell. #dontbethatbusiness

    1. Thank you for the great comment, Randy. I agree, treating customers as transactions or wallets, is absolutely inacceptable. We all have been taught that it costs nothing to be courteous and respectful, but it always pays. And that’s especially true today, when a single negative feedback in social media could hurt brand’s reputation and simply ruin all other efforts. Every customer interaction counts (even if it doesn’t include making a sale or purchase)

  2. The best advice I got was to treat every customer like you would like to be treated. In addition, watch body language. A lot can be said about yourself and how friendly or open you are by the way you stand or cross your arms etc. You could be sending a message to your customers without saying a thing.

    1. Thank you for your feedback, Kelly. I agree, treating customers like you would like to be treated is definitely the “golden rule” to ensure you serve your customers properly. And of course, watching your and customers’ body language is very important too to convey the right message and properly connect with your audience

  3. One of the first things I have to say is probably one of the most important things I can add to the lists of “Do & Don’t’s” is do NOT have a computerized call go out to a client or prospect if you want to keep them or sign them on… In this day and age of technology and having to be many places at the same time, I don’t know about you but I will not be making that mistake again. If you ever had to contact someone no matter what it was for, personal, business, a simple question or to complain,
    the absolute worse thing in the world is to have to wait on hold or explain to a computer that doesn’t know what you are saying and it is in English. I know I do appreciate speaking to a real person even if it is only to leave a message. Your clients and prospects will appreciate it too!

  4. I appreciate the article! Your thoughts accurate.
    I would like to ad my observations. Today the prevailing attitude of customers is that everything revolves around them and they are right. Without them no company would be in business.
    Therefore it is essential to understand human behavior and learn how to deal with people of all sorts. I’ve taught my people to control their emotions, which takes self-control and humility. I also helped them to appreciate the reason for them to be swift about hearing and slow about speaking. For example, when a customer has a complainant, allow them to speak their mind and do not interrupt them. The worst mistake that I hear people make is interrupt and try to defend the company without getting all the facts. We know a sincere apology goes along way in defusing a tense situations.
    However, I’ve called in to companies and receive an apology or the issue at hand, but it was like when a parent tells a child to apologize to their sibling and the sibling says the words “I’m sorry” as they are looking off into space. The parent knows and the sibling that was wronged knows that it wasn’t sincere. That is exactly what I got.
    Needless to say, it always reminds me that those that we engage can here it in our voice if we are speaking with them verbally. I am also aware of the fact that it is harder when the person on the other end cannot her voice inflections, because we are communicating via chat, text or email.
    Relationships are built on understanding and trust and that doesn’t mean we will always agree. but because I respect people as a human beings, I willing to listen to understand them.
    Building bridges and relationships is one of the keys to successful leaders and companies. it is never going to be perfect, because none of us are, so we strive to treat people like like human beings, like we want to be treated, it is surprising how far that will take you!

    Bryant McNeil

    Your Success Is In The Connections You Make

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