Customer Service – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly {Plus 5 Tips on How to Excel in the Customer Service Department}

Think back to your recent customer service experiences. Were they good, bad or just plain ugly?

I bet you’re quick to recall “the bad” or “the ugly” experiences you had over “the good” ones. That’s just how our brain works. Knowing that, why is it companies, big and small alike, still fail over and over again when it comes to customer service?

Let me relate a recent experience I had with “The Ugly”.

Back in February I pre-ordered a fashion magazine. Now this isn’t your typical fashion glossy with Condé Nast behind ‘em. It’s run by a burgeoning female Artrepreneur with frantically bold ideas. Missing out on issue #1, I jumped at the opportunity to grab issue #2.

Of course my excitement was met with delayed gratification. After all, it was a pre-order. I fully understood I’d be waiting a few months before receiving my copy. No problemo!

Well, here we are, August upon us, and I have yet to receive the mag. I’m irritated. At $20 the price of this magazine did not come cheap. I’ve sent email after email questioning its whereabouts only to receive a delayed and vague response with no resolution offered.

After 6 months of waiting I’ve given up. It doesn’t matter how fantastic her content is, if I never get to consume what I paid for there is no value.

This isn’t just about me venting. One of the reasons I support boutique operations is so I won’t have experiences like this. I want to connect with the businesses I support; I want them to make me feel special!

And I’m 1000% sure your customers want the same thing from you too!

treat your customers with gratitude! image by yeehaw

So let’s turn our experiences with “The Ugly” into lessons of what not to do in our own businesses. I’ve created a short list of things that will ensure you never mingle in the realm of good, bad or ugly customer service. Only excellence allowed here!

5       Tips to Excel in the Customer Service Department

  1. Outline specific policies and make sure they’re easy for your customers to access. In other words, DIRECT THEM THERE!
  2.  Dedicate an email address and/or phone number to customer service inquiries. Make the email address easy to remember, like customerservice@mybusinessname.com
  3. Customers aren’t always right. Sometimes it’s best to appease them by taking the high road. You do want them to shop with you again, don’t you?
  4. Turn a bad customer service experience into a great one. An example of just how to do that: Last holiday season a young lady ordered a handbag from me. When it arrived the jeweled straps were broken. Bummer. I immediately responded to her call, letting her know the bag she purchased was still wearable and I’d be happy to let her keep it and send her a new bag of her choice – at no cost. She was ecstatic! Instead of leaving negative feedback she declared “WOULD BUY AGAIN AND RECOMMEND TO EVERYONE!”
  5. If a customer leaves negative feedback, talk to them. Ask them how you can improve the customer experience. Use the opportunity to do FREE market research. And don’t forget it’s always nice to offer them an incentive to shop with you again…like a discount or a freebie.

Remember, you are not a soul-less corporation looking to make a dollar at any cost {at least I hope not}! Leverage your humanity and boutique size by shining in the customer service department. It will pay you back 10 fold!!

Have any additional tips or recent customer service experiences you’d like to share? Go ahead; leave them in the comments section!

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