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An Attitude of Servitude: 5 Ways to Improve Customer Service

An attitude of servitude is hard to come by these days. It’s not because there are meaner people in the world today compared to yesteryear; no, it’s because you and I let it happen.

For example, recently I called in an order at a local restaurant. I wanted to know how much would feed 20 people – a reasonable question – but the employee’s response was, “Ma’am, I don’t know. Once you figure it out, call us back.”

True story: Instead of taking my business elsewhere, I hung up, figured out my order and called back. Unfortunately, many of us have gotten so used to poor customer service that we just expect it.

We all know how bad customer service is defined. It’s the dial tone you get after you ask to speak to a manager; it’s the attitude that rears its ugly head before you have a chance to open your month. This behavior is unacceptable, and we should expect more from businesses.

So why don’t we?

What Does Great Customer Service Look Like?

Before we can go looking for great customer service, we first have to know what that might look like. SurveyMonkey asked more than 400 Americans what they value most about customer service. In order from most to least important, here are their thoughts:

• ability of customer service representative (CSR) to resolve the issue
• timeliness of response/resolution
• personality and friendliness of CSR
• quick and easy access to CSR
• CSR communicated authentically (without script-like communication)
• ability of CSR to understand the customer
• receipt of an unexpected discount or freebie
• CSR provides additional information or service the customer needed, but did not request

Great customer service pays off and it may be more attainable than you think. What can you do to make sure customer service at your organization is nothing shy of top-notch?

5 Ways to Deliver on Your Promise

1. A Culture of Servitude Breeds an Attitude of Servitude
Simply put, make great customer service a strong value at your organization and entrust your employees to demonstrate and operate with this mindset. Follow through with training to guide them on what great customer service looks like. Use written materials, visuals, role playing, mentors and demonstrations.

2. Don’t Just Listen, Relate
Anyone can listen, but are you actually hearing what the person on the other end is saying? Being able to ingest what someone is saying and then provide feedback that relates to their very thought, idea or concern is extremely valuable. Not to mention, you also build good rapport, which helps to strengthen the ties between you and the customer.

3. Remember, Your Employees Are Also Your Customers
We’ve all heard the saying “Treat others as you would like to be treated.” Well, Mom was right … again! Companies known for great customer service treat their employees just as they would their customers: with appreciation and respect. People who feel that they are a part of the bigger picture are willing to go the extra mile.

4. Treat Your Customers Like Royalty
After all, loyal customers are a company’s most valuable resource; it’s well worth investing a great deal of time and energy into serving them properly. For your business, that may mean logging their preferences and alerting them when new products are available that align with their wants and needs, or maybe it means holding a day of appreciation to show gratitude for their continued patronage.

5. There Is Always a Solution
Saying, “I’m sorry, that’s not something we handle” won’t make nearly as strong an impression as acknowledging what was asked and countering it with a solution you can offer: “I’m sorry I am not familiar with what you are requesting; however, we do have …” While you may not always have the solution they are looking for right now, if you can provide quality service like this, they will be back.