12 Rules to End Bad Customer Service – Part 1

Much has been said and written about the “secret to customer service”.  Do this, don’t do that.  Customers want this and don’t like it when you do that.  Many offer some great, and probably very useful, ideas that will fix the issues of service.  Well, I don’t know about “the secret” but here are my rules to end bad customer service.

Bad Customer Service

1 If you can’t relate in a pleasant professional manner with people that want to give you their money, then maybe the customer service industry is not for you.

It seems so simple yet so many members of the customer service community just can’t get this right.

They don’t seem to get the basic fact that the service of others is what it’s all about.

A phone call is money. A customer walking in your door is money. A mailed request for more information is money. All we need to do is provide the product or service the customer is asking about. If we can’t do that with a smile, a pleasant demeanor and with a welcoming tone, it’s time to move on.

2 NEVER let your customer leave without asking if there is anything else you may do for them. Always take that extra step.

Many customer interactions are brief, only a payment made across the cashier’s counter and items placed in a bag. But there are those that are extended with multiple opportunities for questions to be asked and answers to be given.

Throughout the interaction, the customer may have many unanswered questions pertaining to item size, color, texture or flavor, just to name a few. The unspoken question is the one that is most uncertain. Click To Tweet

We as service providers must be a fountain of knowledge and continually draw-out the customer’s questions and provide a concrete understanding or our product or service. Without that we shouldn’t be surprised when the customer’s expectations are not met.

3 Let your customer know that you are there to serve them, to take care of their needs, to make sure they are completely satisfied with their purchase.

A customer is not concerned about our tasks or responsibilities, nor should they be. Their concerns are finite; take care of my needs promptly, provide me with the product or service I ask for and do so for a fair and reasonable price.

We must voice our intentions up front and alleviate any concerns the customer may have as the start of the interaction.

4 Always acknowledge the children, involve them in the decision making and find a way to make them feel part of the process.

One thing is for certain; children disdain shopping for anything that doesn’t immediately benefit them. Temper tantrums, hiding, running through the store and showing their “mad face” are telltale signs of a child removed from the “enjoyment of shopping”.

The store clerk who is wise enough, and understands the child’s continual need for stimuli, will reap the rewards of a parent now free to shop unburdened by their child’s outbursts. And free to spend more.

5 Anticipate the needs of your guest, don’t leave anything to chance.

“Oh, it will be fine. I think she said that. Are you sure he wanted it like this?” We all have heard, or made, statements like these.

Just as failing to plan = planning to fail, we must think like the customer, our guest, and… walk through the steps of service to ensure as smooth an experience as possible. Click To Tweet

When there is a breakdown, and you know there will be, we have already planned for it and can readily put into action the best alternative possible.

6   You are a professional, be proud of your job, your career and most of all be proud of yourself as a person. Your customer service skills will be an extension of your pride.

It is said an animal can sense fear. Similarly, a customer can sense the mood of an unmotivated employee, one not concerned about doing his best or looking out for the benefit of the customer.

Is this caused by a dead-end job, working for a failed boss or not being appreciated at work? Usually, yes. If you like your job but feel you can or should be “better than this”, the first step to realizing your dream is taking pride in a job well done and knowing you are on the road to fulfillment.

Stand tall, shoulders square and “look ‘em in the eye”.  I am “only” a dishwasher now but I will be the best dishwasher here while looking for another opportunity.  I am “only” a waiter and I will be the best waiter I can be while going to school to advance my career.

Be proud of what you do and who you are. Good things await you.

To be continued here in ►Part 2


In the meanwhile, do you have any ‘rules’ to add to this list? ➤Leave a comment below and add to the discussion, thanks.

Copyright © 2018 Steve DiGioia

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11 thoughts on “12 Rules to End Bad Customer Service – Part 1

  1. Great article !

    The number one is a most have for every member of any company. If the personnel hired doesn’t understand that the customer is the one who really pays their paycheck, then the business will not work how it’s supposed.

    Thanks for sharing !

  2. I loved this article, and it is true. Wowing a customer is not as hard as people think. The key is simply paying attention to your customer so that you will not only understand what they need and want, but it makes a customer feel as if you trust care.
    I’ve always had fun with my customers and it has always generated repeats business because I have established the level of service they can expect.

  3. Rule No 1.
    it all starts at the beginning training training training. Roll Play, if your staff have no idea about what makes a good customer service person than they either should not be there or retrain them.

    2.Have briefings every shift and ask question of them of how to solve a problem. Again roll play. yes it means they have to make an effort to come in 15 minutes earlier to start there shift but you will benefit the rewards ten times over. Give them goals as to how to treat customers starting at the front desk and when they check out. My favorite rule was to find out as much as you can about their needs and wonts when staying in a hotel. The only way to do that is by talking to your quest and when they are return guest you have all the info you wont on them and their needs. Good luck.

    • Suzanne,

      You are correct, training is the key ingredient to end bad service…assuming the employee(s) involved are customer-centric in the first place.

      When we interact with the customer so much can be learned that is valuable to provide the service they expect. Pre-shift meetings, and constant reinforcement of expectations go a long way to make this happen.

      Thanks Suzanne for your comment and visiting the site.

  4. Do you notice when, a new cashier starts the position, and a “regular” customer will seek them out and want a refund made, or a complaint reported, instead of going to the staff that are well established, and have more experience? I do wonder about these types of customers, and would like some theory on why one would like to “get one over on us” especially when we dictate our decisions mostly by protocol. Judgement calls to be fair to the customer at all times, however, it is also the customer to responsibly take their case to the manager in charge.

    • Hi Katy,
      The old adage that the “customer is always right” has been spoken about for years, is it correct? Maybe, maybe not. But there are customers that do look to take advantage of the newer employees.

      Just as there are good people and bad people, some do not have the best intentions at heart.

      Many think that the big companies deserve or can afford, to be “screwed” once and awhile due to their high prices or whatever other silly reason they come up with. This is why the service industry is so challenging. Situations are always changing and one must have a thick skin to survive.

      Thanks for your comment and visit here.

  5. Dear Steve, to make it happen and you built up an excelent customer service, customer service stuff is of high importance. Therefore I would add this rule: Keep your customer service stuff satisfied. Show them they are of high importance. Give them necessary guides to make the best job. Tell them when they do a good job. Coach them if they do not perform according your expectations.

    • Correct Lucia,
      We are only as good as our employees. They are only as good as the training and equipment that management provides. Therefore, in order to provide good/great service we must ensure all our employees are taken care of.

      Thanks for your comment.

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