There is no mystery surrounding good customer service and you don’t have to take university classes to understand 3 basic truths:
1. that in life you should treat others the best way you would want others to treat you;
2. we are all customers of each other;
3. we lose nothing by being genuinely nice, polite, and empathetic.
Myths: But first, debunking the pretty and smiling face myth: Customer service is not about pretty and handsome faces and it has nothing to do with flashing a set of teeth automatically at just anyone as though on remote control. It’s not about wearing a tag or shirt with words ‘Hello Customer, How Can I Help You?’ and printing on a smiley. For customer service to be successful, it helps to look at making sure each customer interaction is as humane, professional and genuine as possible. The smile should be natural, effortless and relevant. Your people should learn to initiate conversations with customers instead of hiding behind their desks and hoping that a customer will read the words off their tag or shirt. Your customer service team should be made of naturally friendly, approachable, calm or energetic people—really nothing to do with external beauty.
Basic truth 1: In life you should treat others the best way you would want others to treat you.
Who is your first customer? If your answer is, ‘My staff’ then you’re on the right track. Your employees are your first customers, you should treat them well and they will treat your ‘actual’ customers the same. Don’t expect your team to show genuine friendliness and attention to your clients if internally you treat them with disrespect, rudeness and indifference. If you are a supervisor, place yourself in your staff’s shoes, and if you are an employee try placing yourself in your customer’s shoes. Ask yourself the question, ‘How would I like to be treated if we switched places?’ And based on your answer, act on that in the most professionally possible way you can.
Basic truth 2: We are all customers of each other.
Good customer service begins with you learning how to be a good customer. We are all customers, whether or not you agree with it. Have you ever shouted at a waitress for just about any reason? YES? What makes you think a rude customer should be respectful towards you when you yourself don’t know how to respect other people everywhere you go—when every restaurant knows you as a difficult customer? An executive manager from a major telecom company walks into a shoe store with an air of arrogance and disrespects the attendants. Later the Telecom company realizes its sales are nose-diving and decides to invest millions in advertising to encourage low-income earners like that shoe-store attendant to subscribe to its new mobile data bundles.
However, the shoe-store attendants have dual sim phones and decide to switch to a competitor network. The Telecom company out of desperation doubles their advertising investment to the point of almost giving away free mobile data bundles. At this point, the ordinary shoe-store attendant starts to appear very important and arrogant executive manager risks losing their job if they don’t provide results for all that advertisement spending. No one is more important and if we must roll with “The customer is King” then we are all kings. The only difference is the scenarios and times keep changing and we keep switching the King ‘thrones’ for each other.
Basic truth 3: We lose nothing by being genuinely nice, polite, and empathetic.
If you can’t be fooled into thinking that someone cares just because they smiled at you, what then makes you think you can fool others with a forced smile and rehearsed customer line? Don’t smile unless it’s genuine. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a physical customer interaction, via email, or via phone call, genuineness and pretense can be seen and felt.