Customer Service Best Practices
1. Take pride in your personal appearance and the appearance of your workplace: Make sure that your uniform or work attire is professional; specifically clothing is appropriate for work, fits properly and is well-tailored. Similarly, your place of work should be clean, organized and properly stocked.
2. Make customers feel welcome by greeting them warmly as soon as they enter your place of business: Make eye contact immediately and as the customer approaches, use a warm greeting that includes a welcoming statement, an expression of gratitude and an offer to help. For example, “Good morning! Thank you for visiting [Name of establishment]. How may I help you today?
3. Give your undivided attention in every interaction: Listen attentively. Use gestures to show that you are listening such as nodding and leaning in. Paraphrase what you hear. For example, “It sounds like you need a…” Avoid distractions such as conversing with others, answering/ talking on the phone and using a computer or other equipment. If you need to attend to something else while conversing with someone, politely excuse yourself by saying something like, “Please excuse me. I need to answer this call. I will be right back to help you”.
4. Use common courtesies and positive body language in every interaction: Common courtesies include: please, thank you and “Is there anything else I can assist you with?” Examples of positive body language are facing the person when speaking and/or listening to them, maintaining comfortable eye contact, standing (or sitting) with straight posture. Avoid gestures or facial expressions that may be interpreted as being rude or disinterested.
5. Be mindful of your tone of voice and choice of words: Your tone of voice should convey your desire to help. Avoid sounding irritated, annoyed or judgmental. Also avoid excessive use of jargon and slang. Speak in terms that are easy for your customers to understand. Finally, speak clearly and use a comfortable volume.
6. Make appropriate small talk: Small talk can be used to make a person feel comfortable and welcome; however, if small talk is inappropriate, it can be offensive. Avoid small talk about controversial and “off-color” topics. Also, avoid becoming too personal or familiar with customers.
7. Pay attention to the customer’s body language: The customer’s body language can tell you if they need assistance or not, if they are uncertain, if they have questions, etc. Be mindful of other’s body language and respond accordingly. If it seems appropriate, use questions to probe – “Do you have any questions?” “Is this what you need?” “Can I show you something else?”
8. Practice effective service recovery when necessary: Service recovery involves handling a customer’s disappointment or unmet expectation. Follow these steps to address the situation:
a. Acknowledge the person’s disappointment with an apology: Never make an excuse, argue, try to reason, and imply that it’s the customer’s fault. Instead, say something like, “I’m sorry this isn’t what you expected.” b. Do what you can to resolve the issue. Act as quickly as possible. Give the customer realistic options. Involve others as needed. c. Thank the customer for bringing the situation to your attention, for giving you the opportunity to help and for being a valued customer.
9. Treat your co-workers with respect: How you treat your coworkers sets the tone for how you treat customers. Never argue with co-workers in front of customers, place blame or make disparaging comments about people with whom you work.
10. Leave a great lasting impression: End transactions with a smile and thank you. Invite customers to return to your place of business and to visit you on-line (if applicable).