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The Book on Great Customer Service is not in the Mystery Section

It doesn’t matter what I tell you.

If the customer has trust in the situation, it really doesn’t matter what you tell them.  They will perceive your desire to work for their benefit.  And if there is no trust, it doesn’t matter what you tell them.  That trust can only come from empathy on the part of the customer service provider.  Customers are always asking and answering two important questions in their heads at the beginning of every conversation; “Can I trust you?” and “Do you care about me?”  We have to empower our employees to help them answer ‘yes’ to both.

The customer isn’t always right, but they are ALWAYS the customer.

Service employees have to understand that even when the customer is wrong, they are still the reason we are in business.  We have to maintain this awareness and learn to deal with difficult people in a non-personal way.

Everyone works on their happiness project.

When we begin to realize that all of us as individuals are working on our own happiness project, we start to see our customers [and our employees] with greater clarity. They may simply be in need of some small courtesy that helps them to see us as being on their side.  This works to develop trust and empathy towards everyone we deal with during our work day.

Listen to what I’m not saying.

Customers sometimes have difficulty being understood.  By making an extra effort to listen actively and empathetically, we establish a strong relationship that offers them space to be open with us about their real needs.  Little things aren’t small to everyone.  Thoughtfulness is never inappropriate and frequently rewarded in unforeseen ways that benefit your business in the long run.

Our employees treat customers the way our business treats its employees.

By keeping ourselves and our businesses open to the intellectual creativity of our workforce, we empower them as they provide products and services to our customers.  We often spend much time and money to recruit and retain great employees.  By helping develop their unique qualities we offer so much more to our customers than just another nameless face.

What do you need?

First we must answer this question ourselves in a clear and honest way.  Then we can share that awareness with our employees and help them to find their own answers.  This is not an exercise in philosophy.  Learning what each member of an organization has to offer is critical to that individual’s success and is integral to the success of our business.

How will you know if I don’t tell you?

One of the most important individuals in a company is the one who talks to the customer.  Yet all too frequently we provide insufficient training and resources for them to perform the way we think they should.  Staying open to the wisdom our employees possess is necessary to create a culture of success for our employees, our customers, and our business.

Joyful Activity.

Dr. W. Edwards Deming stated, “People are entitled to joy in work.”  In our fast moving, often difficult economic times, we are surrounded by uncertainty.  By keeping our workforce informed and encouraging an atmosphere of cooperation, we give ourselves the greatest opportunity to succeed.  Our goal is for everybody to gain - stockholders, employees, suppliers, customers, community, the environment - over the long term.

© Joseph Lyman 2008



Eight Simple Rules


If you apply these eight simple rules consistently, your business will become known for its good customer service. And the best part? The irony of good customer service is that over time it will bring in more new customers than promotions and price slashing ever did!