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Customer Service: Do's and Don'ts

By Tricia Hoy

Customer Service is the foundation on which loyalty and word-of-mouth advertising is built. It always has been, and always will be. But nowadays, it’s almost as if being rude is the rule instead of the exception.

When I was 15 (and this goes back too many years for me to mention in fear of aging myself!), great customer service was the focus of any new employee training in the fast food sector. I remember sitting through hours of videos designed specifically to teach new employees how to enhance the customer’s experience.

Why does it seem like today, this is no longer a common practice? Countless times, I have walked away from a retail or quick-service establishment unhappy with my experience because the staff member ‘helping’ me has shown little interest, or a complete disregard for my business. I’ve read multiple studies that showed the average person who has a bad-service experience tells at least nine others about it, and 13% of complainers relate their experience to more than 20 other people. In comparison, people who receive excellent service only tell three or four others about it.

Good customer service is about bringing customers back by sending them away happy. It’s an easy concept, but one so easily forgotten or overlooked. Keeping customers is actually a lot easier than soliciting new ones, so let’s focus on that. Below I have put together a few ( probably obvious) customer service do’s and don’ts that helped me as a young rep, and might help you when training staff:

DON’T argue with a customer. Winning an argument gets you nowhere if you lose a customer in the process. Involve a manager if you are unsure of how to proceed with an angry customer.

DON’T hold a side conversation with a friend or another employee while talking to customers on the phone or in person. It’s frustrating to anyone, let alone your customer, to feel as though they are not being listened to.

DON’T let a bad mood carry over to your conversations with customers. You can’t fake good customer service; they’ll see it and feel it.

DON’T eat or chew gum when talking to a customer on the phone or in person. It’s disrespectful and shows a lack of professionalism.

DO make eye contact and smile. A pleasant and friendly attitude is contagious.

DO say ‘please,’ ‘thank you,’ and ‘you’re welcome.’ Being polite is remembered, and reciprocated.

DO reward regular customers and frequent buyers. A small discount or a little extra or faster service can go a long way towards keeping them.

DO contact customers you haven’t heard from for a while. They may have misplaced your menu and need a nudge in the right direction. Don’t let your competitors snatch them up.

Worth printing and posting on an employee board as a daily reminder? I hope it helps!


Posted by Tricia Hoy

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Tags: customer loyalty, Restaurant Marketing

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