Source: ProSolutions LLC.

All too often we witness employees that do just enough in their customer service efforts, but this is not enough when you're trying to win loyal customers. For example, there are popular rules of "delivering good customer service" that nearly every company attempts to implement, but their employees do the minimum in their execution and upholding of these rules. Which rules am I referring to? Just keep reading to learn them, and let's make a pact that we don't let ourselves or our employees/coworkers fall into the category of doing "just enough." Instead, let's follow these rules correctly (as they are intended).

1. Make a Good First Impression

Real Example of Not Doing this Correctly: I walk into a very popular women's accessories store, and I see two employees engaged in what appears to be a rather juicy conversation. One notices my entry, so she pauses briefly, makes eye contact with me, smiles, and says pleasantly, "Hello! Welcome to (Store Name). If we can help you with anything, please let us know." Then, she goes back to that juicy conversation.

In the employee's mind, she thinks she nailed it. She immediately welcomed a shopper, and she did so in a friendly manner. Plus, she offered assistance. Score for her! Actually, not so much. Here's how the impression felt to me—her greeting was forced and rehearsed, and I was an inconvenient interruption to their social time. Their body language was very closed off, and the whispering was uncomfortable. I was under impressed and disappointed.

Do This Correctly:

Make good eye contact, give a genuine greeting, have open body language, cater your actions to making the customers comfortable, and always be aware of your surroundings.

2. Respond Quickly

Real Example of Not Doing this Correctly: I filled out a "contact us" form on a company's website because I wanted to inquire about a delivery of an order I had placed that had not been received. The customer service rep replied via email within an hour, and she gave me the tracking information for the item and made it clear that she was ready and able to assist if I had not received the item.

Within an hour response time to a web submission is quite impressive, and the tone the employee used along with her display of wanting to help was nice. She probably thought she did a great job on this one. But, to me, it was certainly lacking. Why? First of all, she misspelled my first name in the opening line. Then, the tracking number she provided was for someone else and showed a delivery to California. Wrong beach state—I am in Florida. So I am back to square one and had to start over, basically, with my inquiry.

Do This Correctly:

Reply as fast is reasonable (hopefully your company has turnaround time standards), check for accuracy, deliver or respond to what is requested, and offer ongoing assistance.

3. Know How to Sell Your Products/Services

Real Example of Not Doing this Correctly: I called an internet/cable provider to inquire about switching to their services since their value could be better than what I am getting. The sales associate learned which products are of interest to me, provided basic info about their services, gave pricing, and even was able to get me a better deal when I showed concern over her first quote. She was friendly and enthusiastic.

The sales associate walked away with a sale, so she can mark this call as a "success." She probably felt really good about the knowledge she displayed. So how did I feel about it? Glad that I got a good price, but goodness did she waste my time by telling me about speeds and channels that I showed no interest in. Plus, she asked more than once what internet speed I prefer and how many TVs we have. While she displayed her knowledge of the details of their services by spewing loads of info to me, she did not retain what she learned about my needs so she could focus solely on talking about what is most catered to my desires nor did she sell benefits in an attempt to upsell me. At the close of the call, I felt like I was just a number, and they earned my business by default.

Do This Correctly:

Memorize what products/services you sell along with their features and benefits, know which is best matched to each customer need and focus on it, and understand which can be promoted as an upsell.

As the opening quote said, strive to be great in your customer service role. Take each "rule," and maximize how you follow it and think beyond the obvious. Ensure that everyone within your company is also on the same page. When you have this mentality and focus, you will impress your customers with your greatness, and they will want to continue doing business with you for life.

Cindy Ott
ProSolutions LLC.