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Good Service: A Matter of “Do’s and Don’ts"

By Bruce Loeffler

Providing good service requires a number of mechanics in order to be effective. This is not "rocket science," rather a set of guidelines and principles of how most consumers wish to be treated. Although most are simple common sense suggestions, we have discovered a number of employees either do not adhere to these service values or were never taught them. Your number one responsibility is to create long term loyalty - and you do that by consistently satisfying the customer each and every time. People like to do business where they feel respected, appreciated and feel they are getting value for their money. Here is a suggested list of ten "Service Do’s" and "Service Don’ts." We hope these will make a significant contribution to your employees/staff as well as your customers.

Service Do’s

1. Do make an excellent first impression - it sets the tone for how others see you and the company. Essential elements include greeting every person when they first come in, a sincere smile, eye contact, asking to assist them, making them feel as a welcome and valued person, not a "number."

2. Do be friendly and personable. If you could have one quality that you demonstrate more than any other, I would suggest being friendly. Being a friendly person typically presupposes you are competent, caring, confident, interested in others and possess an interesting personality and integrity. The rule of thumb is: greet anyone you come in contact with within ten feet of you.

3. Do take pride in what you wear and dress professionally for what you do. People will typically judge you in two areas - appearance and how you make them feel. Wear clean, pressed clothes, appropriate make up and hygiene. How they "feel" is critical . . . use their name, acknowledge them immediately, keep your word, listen to them and do your best to make them feel important and appreciated.

4. Do exceed their expectations. Often you have a good idea of what customers need before they ever ask. In life as well as in service, do more than is expected of you and anticipate needs to best serve them. Most people in life do only what is expected of them and very little else . . . don’t let that be you.

5. Do put others first. One of the greatest attributes of a successful person is their ability to make others feel significant. You will go far when you learn to place others before your own self interests and make them feel they are the most important person.

6. Do choose your attitude. More important than your education, your seniority, your title or the money you make is your attitude as it shapes and determines the outcome of others. Attitude is the #1 determinant of how effective and successful you will be.

7. Do the little things and go the "extra mile" when possible . . . people remember the personal touch you give and little things you do more than the big things. Practice random acts of kindness and you will make an indelible impression on others.

8. Do have a "YES" mentality. Begin your thinking with ways to make things work instead of why things can’t work. Customers hate "No," "You can’t," "I don’t know" or "We don’t . . ." Focus on becoming solution-oriented, not challenge-oriented.

9. Do connect with the customer . . . this creates trust by demonstrating respect for others. We call it "relational service." You must establish some level of rapport with them through small talk, eye contact, smiling, genuinely listening to them, keeping your word, responding to their needs and finding ways to affirm them.

10. Do understand that your co-workers are customers too. How we treat each other is how we empower each other to treat the customer. According to the Gallup organization, “there is a direct correlation between employee and customer satisfaction.” Find ways to encourage, support and respect your coworkers and they’ll return the favor.

On the other side of the coin, there are some things that are definite "turn-offs" for the customer. Not that employees are overtly doing these things, but they may not be aware of the significance little negatives have in the overall impression customers may have with the company and you.

Service Don’ts

1. Don’t ever ignore a customer . . . it is the biggest insult you can give! When someone calls you a name or insults your intelligence, you have put them down as a person, yet, ignore that person and you’ve treated them as non-person. Here are three simple solutions: #1: give direct eye contact and verbally acknowledge them, #2: smile, as it helps breaks down barriers and #3: speak directly to them - it demonstrates interest and establishes rapport.

2. Don’t argue with the customer . . . even if you are 100% correct, you lose. You have just insulted and embarrassed them. Not only will you lose them, you will most certainly lose 30 of their friends and family, but a number of their friend’s friends. Zig Ziglar says it this way, "Would you rather feed your ego or feed your family?"

3. Don‘t chew gum in the presence of a customer . . . it gives the appearance you are disinterested and unprofessional, instead, stick a breath-mint in your mouth. Never smoke around a customer . . . even when you are on break as it is a big turn off.

4. Don’t make excuses or use negative phrases such as, "I don’t know," "It’s not my job," "I can’t help you," or "You have to wait." Find out what they need and quickly get right back to them with an answer or solution. Never tell other people about your challenges . . . 90% of them don’t care and the other 10% are actually glad you have them.

5. Don’t misuse the telephone . . . or it will be your adversary. Attitude and mood are reflected via your tone of voice. Put a ‘smile’ in your voice" really works. Using a "live" person creates a better image than a recorded message or voice mail. If your goal is integrity, answer every call within 24 hours or stop using the phrase, "I’ll get right back with you." Lastly, create a positive, friendly greeting!

6. Don’t be condescending or arrogant. Treat people on the same level or as your equal. Sarcasm, another form of condescension, is not so much in the words, but rather in your tone of voice. A little tactfulness will do wonders for any relationship you desire to build. Being curt and rude only serves to diminish other people’s perception of you.

7. Don’t criticize, condemn or complain. Anyone can find fault with your company or other people you work with. It takes a person who is far better, who sincerely desires to make a difference and is willing to look past the faults to the potential that lies within every person to discover the good in the company and their coworkers. Turn all complaints into specific requests.

8. Don’t keep people waiting – it demonstrates a complete lack of respect on your part for other’s time. It’s amazing that it is fine for you to wait in certain offices until 10:30 for your 9:00 am appointment, but are rescheduled when 10 minutes late. When placing someone on hold, you must respect their time and keep them updated frequently. The key principle is respect for them, their time and long-term loyalty.

9. Don’t be plastic or robotic by quoting company policies or rules. Many policies can and have been modified for various situations. The key word is be "flexible" when possible, yet, if you’re unable, explain why the policy is in place. Our purpose is to help them feel like a valued part of the team and not as an outsider.

10. Don’t be average . . . average never inspired anyone. The common belief is that people are above average, yet most aren’t. Ask yourself the following question: What do I do that separates and differentiates me from average? If you can’t give several specifics, the answer is . . . you’re probably average. My proposal to you is this: start doing the little things and give the personal touch that will separate you from those who are average.

Providing good service is not difficult, but it requires definite buy-in and a change in the mindset of each employee. Our hope is that employees will make these simple "Do’s and Don’ts" a part of their service to their customer and especially apply these to their relationships with family and friends. Understand that service is giving, the better we are at giving to others, the better we are at serving each other.

About The Author

Bruce Loeffler is a service excellence and personal development specialist. He spent ten years with Walt Disney World and oversaw their "showmanship" training which is still in use today . He is the president of the Dallas, Texas based Enspiron Training Company which specializes in Customer Service, Leadership and Sales Training programs and keynote speeches. Access additional information and free articles at www.enspiron.cc or call (972) 569-8389.



















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