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  • 08.20.10

How to Be a Great Customer and Get Great Customer Service

Stop treating employees like they’re your personal servants or inferior, and you might be very happy with the results.

I’ve written about outstanding customer service, as
well as horrible customer service.

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There are times that no matter what you do, you’ll be
treated like the most important person in the world, and there are those times
when no matter how pleasant you are, you’ll get miserable service. You can’t
control the person behind the desk, on the phone, or behind the counter.

But there are those times when your attitude can make a big
difference. Here are some suggestions on how to provide good customer behavior.

• Show empathy and consider that everyone has a bad day once
in awhile.

I recently had lunch with a colleague and was appalled when
she started yelling at the woman taking our order. The restaurant was very
busy, and the server was doing the best she could. I wanted to either yell back
at my colleague, or fall under the table. Instead, I said to the server, “I see
you’re really busy. This must be very stressful.” She smiled with relief, and
told me that two people had called in sick. I told her that I understood and
asked what we could do to make her work easier. “Please, be a little patient. I
know you’ve been waiting awhile.”

My colleague declared that she had no time to wait and got
up and left. I stayed, had a great lunch, and as soon as I was done, the server
came to the table with a big piece of apple pie and said, “You were so nice and
understanding, and I saw that you ended up by yourself. Please accept this pie
in appreciation of your wonderful attitude.”

• Speak to the person who has the power to help you, and
tell them what you want.

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Last month my
son had a $400 phone bill on his mobile. Someone had sent him over 800 texts,
and left over 100 messages on his voicemail. He had very few outgoing texts,
and had made very few calls. I was shocked when I saw the bill. I called my
carrier T-mobile and explained the situation. A manager came on the line and
told me that they were supposed to notify customers if their bill was unusually
large. She apologized for not contacting me before the end of the billing
cycle, and took off the excess charges.

• State the issue clearly, without blame or attacking the
employee personally.

I’ve seen customers act so entitled that if they felt an
employee was talking too long to another customer, they would start calling
them names, and threaten to report them.

If you were that employee, would you want to go beyond the
minimum for a person like that?

• Don’t treat employees like you are their only customer,
and that you are a superior being. When you’re respectful, acknowledge the work
the person from the call center, or the server at the restaurant or the
salesperson, and say thank you, you’re more likely to get treated like the most
important customer of the day. Instead of hearing, “no it can’t be done,” you
might hear, I’ll see what I can do to help get what you want.

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