Operations Planner
«  »

Providing Outstanding Service Strategies #96-119

publication date: Mar 13, 2014
author/source: Carol Roth Blog, as submitted by Bill Todd

96. Happy Customers Love CATERing

There are 5 things you can do immediately and consistently to earn the love, respect, and loyalty of your customers.

The key is in how well you C.A.T.E.R.:

C = Communicate often - keep them updated
A = Ask them how you're doing
T = Thank them
E = Entertain their comments and questions
R = Resolve their challenges quickly

A satisfied customer feels like you care. By doing a little catering, they will know you do.
Thanks to: Karen Graves of Vision Launch.


97. Angry Customers Teach More

You learn more from angry customers. I tell my clients "Send me to your screamers!" My approach is: Don't try to win them back, calm them down, or to appease them with discounts. Instead really listen, observe and understand deeply the customer pain points. Use this insight to restructure your development priorities. Current thinking promotes learning to "manage" angry customers. This approach lacks authenticity. I say don't manage them at all. Instead, fix something that matters to customers.
Thanks to: Darren Kall.


98. Under Promise - Over Deliver

This simple principle "blows the socks off" customers and competitors! It's totally honest and simply requires unwavering dedication to go beyond ordinary words into extraordinary actions. When a publishing client asked for a couple front cover mock-ups in a week, we delivered half a dozen full covers complete with author photo and book review copy -- just like a finished book -- in four days! The client was blown away and our relationship increased as we exceeded expectations. Works every time.
Thanks to: Dr. Tom Taylor of Victory For Leaders.


99. Never Say This!

The emphasis for our open enrollment meetings this past year was, Superheroes. A series of customer service tips were shared that would provide "Superhero" service to our internal and external customers. The most important and foundational building block to all quality customer service starts with an attitude which is best expressed in this statement - "Never say, that's not my job." If you see a need in another person's life, you alone are uniquely qualified to meet that need. Be the Hero.
Thanks to: Tim Lacy of The MASH Program.


100. Deliver Drama Free Makeup!

I've done makeup in multimillion dollar apartments and on set for TV shows like Project Runway, The Today Show and The Tony Awards but also while riding in Escalades or leaning across desks while clients blog. I bring a lot of supplies and products with me, but I've learned to be extremely organized so that I can be graceful under any circumstances. Ultimate customer service is about preparedness, listening, and adaptability, which allows me to be calm, attentive, and resourceful in any situation.
Thanks to: Andrew Sotomayor of Makeup Artist Andrew Sotomayor.


101. Trust Your Customer

If our customers need help with creating videos, we send them a Flip video camera in the mail. We trust our customers to use the equipment carefully and return it safely when they are done. This level of trust starts off the relationship on the right foot. They know we trust them - so they can trust us back.

Small companies are not used to vendors giving them anything, just endless call center loops and not being trusted. We break that mold and get very loyal customers in return.
Thanks to: Bettina Hein of Pixability, Inc..


102. Who's Stealing Your Customers?

In three words: a better experience. Competitors may duplicate your product or match your price; but it’s very difficult to mimic a unique, personalized and memorable customer experience. World-class providers are crystal clear they are first in the “experience business”. Customers remember and refer others to thoughtful experiences not mere transactions. When you invest in a compelling experience, your customers will invest in you.
Thanks to: Chris Bryant of Chris Bryant Presents, Inc..



Add a "notes" section to either your computer database or Rolodex listing specific information about your customer (i.e. name of children, specific interests of the customer, customer shopping preferences, birthdays, etc.) This provides you general conversation ideas when the customer returns. The goal is for the customer to say "WOW" when they leave your business and to also separate yourself from your competitors. Both will assure their return and referrals to their friends.
Thanks to: Dawn Mushill of Customer Service and Beyond.


104. The Power of Yes!

You need to go above and beyond to remain competitive in today's economy. I have educated my team to always say YES whenever possible. I realize some requests may appear grueling; however, if you do your best to accommodate your customer's difficult request, they'll remember the effort you put forth. Those efforts lead to repeat business, and those are the relationships that are vital for growing your business. If you don't believe me, say no and see if those customers come back for more.
Thanks to: Chobee Hoy of Chobee Hoy Real Estate.


105. WOW your Customers!

You need to create a policy that will WOW your customers. 25 years ago we created an unconditional money back guarantee on all of our products because we wanted to WOW our customers & prove that our products work. The guarantee worked then & it continues to work today. Customers find gratification in dealing with a company that not only cares about their customers and products, but a company that continues to grow based on the original core values that keeps them grounded.
Thanks to: David M. Stone of Photographic Solutions, Inc. .


106. Collaborate with Your Customer

Treat your customer as a partner and collaborate. Make your customer feel at ease and able to ask questions and express opinions. When I create a piece of jewelry for a client, I make sure I know exactly what she envisions and encourage her input. I don’t just assume my ideas are the best ones because I’m the designer and she’s the customer. The more comfortable your customer is with your process, the more likely he or she is to come back with more business or recommend you to others.
Thanks to: Katharine Sise of Katharine Sise Design.


107. The Original Social Networking

Most people concentrate on the customer's experience when considering service. Few consider the employee.

Without a self motivated employee with confidence in the business and bullet proof self esteem, efforts to pound a round peg into a square hole usually go unrewarded. A confident staff that is well trained, organized, knowledgeable, and happy in their job organically produces great customer relations.
Thanks to: Aetius Romulous of ScreamBucket.


108. Yes First, How Later

When working with a client, I say "yes" to their requests, whenever possible. I then find a way to make it happen. By setting aside policy, inconveniencing myself or my staff and going beyond their expectations, I create a great customer service experience that they remember.
Thanks to: Nancy Weil of The Laugh Academy.


109. Set Your Expectations Upfront

Achieving excellent customer service can be easy and a common mistake that many businesses make is not understanding the customer expectations going into the relationship. Often we assume we know what the customer wants, or that the customer knows what we provide. Few business leaders or sales people ask the question, "What results do you hope to see after working with us?" This is golden. The customer will tell you exactly what their expectations are.
Thanks to: Dan Paulson of InVision Business Development.


110. Be Yourself!

Smile and be yourself. You know your craft, you know where your talents lie, and you have a lot to offer. Don't just give customers a product or service, reach out for the relationship. It makes work more enjoyable and enhances the customer's experience.
Thanks to: Carol Peden of Kitchens of Stillwater.


111. Appreciation Motivation

Give your employees an assignment- 2 weeks to write an appreciation letter to a business that is outside of your vendors. Then have a meeting where everyone shares their letters. Facilitate a discussion about what they liked: the experience, a person, the ambiance, etc. Lead by example and do the same. It motivates your employees to do better, so that your customers will want to write letters to you about them!

Copyright 2010 by Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE and Shepard Presentations, LLC
Thanks to: Shep Hyken of Shepard Presentations, LLC.


112. Pick Up the Phone!

In this day of e-mail and e-forms and e-voices, it's no wonder customers become discouraged and angry when they can't get satisfaction. The solution? Pick up the phone! A disgruntled customer can be quickly "un-gruntled" with a personal phone call, and a happy customer's smile only widens when a kind voice thanks her for her patronage.
Thanks to: Ted Scofield of Sexy Slang.


113. Customer for Life with Fido

Building relationships are the keys to great customer service. This relationship acknowledges people's need to feel that they are unique and special, not just a number. What better way than remembering the name of their pet. Yes, Fido the dog or Fluffy the cat. Pets can be very important members of families especially to single or older people. Inquire if the customer has a pet, what type and the name. Keep this info in your customer file. Next time they come in ask "How is Fido?" See them SMILE!
Thanks to: Caroline Wadlin MD.


114. Can Do! for Customer Service

The ABSOLUTE best tip is the simplest of all (but NOT easy for most people) and that is to have a "CAN DO!" attitude. Always! Most importantly when the customer is irate or you are not feeling at your best. You can train tips and best practices all day long (and please do) but unless the attitude fueling it comes from the heart, comes from "Can Do!", tips lay fallow.
Thanks to: Jim Hornickel of Bold New Directions.


115. WOW and Save Your Customers

It's never too late to WOW & save a customer. When problems arise (and they always do) and it's "too late" to save the customer as they have already chosen to leave you, offer them a "welcome back" offer they can't refuse. Bend over backwards to roll out the red carpet for their return. It works!
Thanks to: Jeff Mask of Infusionsoft.


116. Platinum Service

Giving the customer undivided attention while listening for their needs usually makes the customer feel special and appreciated.
Thanks to: Brandy Jones of Ardyss International.


117. No Matter What, Be Nice

Being nice to customers is easy when they are great but much harder when they are on a mission to ruin you. This 'customer from hell' will tell their ‘horror’ tale to anyone who listens & no one will hear your side of it. So what do you do? Be extra nice to them. Listen for their real concerns & address them. Follow up with helpful advice (e.g. if you sell them a lawnmower, provide five easy maintenance tips after their purchase). Remember, this customer could be your greatest advocate ever.
Thanks to: Muchiri Nyaggah of Semacraft.


118. Offer CEO's Email and Phone

Put the CEO's email and phone on every communication, website and print piece. Risky? Not really. You get a lot less contacts than you think, but you learn a lot really quickly. You get to hear Customer problems fast and can delegate the action needed. You also get to hear what goes right. With over 400,000 Customers, Headsets.com is no small operation but the three or four direct communications I get every day make it very valuable for quick feedback. Let your Customer know you care, don't hide.
Thanks to: Mike Faith of Headsets.com.


119. Small Gestures, Big Rewards

It has become cliché (and mathematically challenging) to say we deliver 110%, but how do you quantify that claim? Easy. Go above and beyond what your clients expect and do it at no charge. It’s amazing what a small gesture means. Throw in an extra piece of sushi to a regular customer, do a small job for a good client and send a No Charge invoice. Let them know you think about them and value their business, then show it with your actions. You’ll reap the rewards for years to come.
Thanks to: Scott Harris of Mustang Marketing.


I hope that this list inspires you to take your customer service to the next level. Take the list, tape it to your wall and make sure every employee in your organization reads and lives by it! Many thanks to everyone who contributed this valuable feedback!


Search the Site