Customer Service: The Big Secret

I didn’t know it was Customer Service Week until I read Paul Sevcik’s blog this morning. Since he’s our Client Services Manager, I can vouch that he lives and breathes this kind of customer service, and helps everyone on his team do the same.

Here’s what he said:

“As a customer, it can be a confusing consumer world out there.  Was that item on sale this week or last?  Is this the promotion code I need? What’s the special name this company uses for this item?  Summary?  Report? Credit?  Debit?  Phew!

“As a customer service professional, we are the gatekeepers.  When a customer calls or walks in to our location, we are the face they see, the voice they hear, and the make-it-or-break-it guy/gal.  When we have a bad day or we skip a training class or our manager is breathing down our necks, there is a strong possibility that we will relay those emotions into our work.  It’s only natural because we try to associate with others.

“Try instead to walk a few steps in that customer’s shoes.  Here are a few pointers that can make this a great Customer Service Week for us and our customers:


Sometimes what a customer says and what they mean is not aligned.  There are plenty of reasons for this.  Your industry may have particular lingo or the customer is angry and they just want to vent.

2 – Empathize with the customer.

Imagine yourself in the customer’s exact situation.  If you had to call someone 5 times before a problem was resolved, would this set of circumstances annoy you?

3 – Empower the customer…just a smidgen.

We can’t give away the house, but we can definitely ask, “What can we do for you to help solve this situation?”  I was asked this once at a Hyatt hotel when a mistake was made and the question really surprise me.  I felt like I could ask for anything and then allow the company to respond to my request.

4 – Solve it!

Empty promises, missed calls, faulty reasoning…there’s plenty of that in our experience.  Let’s reverse it by committing to a great standard of fixing the problem.  Customers don’t like being shuffled around, so take care of it as best as you can.  And if you can’t, get someone who can.  Working with the customer sure is easier than working against them and this can lead to great loyalty and perhaps even customer advocates.

5 – Be rewarded.

Celebrate yourself.  Go get a smoothie after work.  Order lunch in for your customer service team.  Hand out gold stickers.  As a manager, you have amazing superpowers that allow your team to love you.  Don’t squander those powers on territorial squabbles and fear.  Do something that celebrates your team and reduces your turnover.  After all, your team is your customer as well!”

Isn’t that how you – as a customer – want to be treated?

What Paul is saying is no big secret to the people who know him, but I’m going to tell it here, just in case you’ve never met him:

Customer Service is a Team Sport.

If you can’t team with your customer, you’ll never serve them – or your organization!

PS: Yes, Paul is a Communicator!

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