Companies strive to foster great customer service experiences to maintain positive images of their brands but also to keep customers coming back again and again to improve profit margins. A can-do, winning attitude is all it takes to please even the grumpiest grinches who set foot in your store or call you on the phone.
New York Times bestselling author and speaker Shep Hyken explains that great customer service comes down to one simple concept: attitude is a choice. A person who engages with the customer, understands a need and attempts to solve a dilemma displays exceptional skills, even if the initial problem is not solved. Contrarily, someone with an apathetic attitude who does not care for the customer at hand probably should take a few days off.
Hyken relates two stories that 12 business executives presented to him at a small gathering. Both stories were from restaurants. One group of executives told of a server who, upon learning his restaurant did not serve a particular brand of drink, called his wife to purchase the drink at a grocery store and bring it to him. The customer was pleasantly surprised the server went above and beyond to ensure her happiness. The underlying problem was not necessarily solved because the restaurant did not provide this type of drink in the first place. Instead, the server found a temporary solution that worked around the dilemma, much to the delight of his customer. This is Hyken's example of great customer service and a winning attitude.
Another group of executives relayed a story of a waiter who did not care his customers had to wait for food. One person's order was incorrect when it was brought to the table. By the time the waiter brought a second entrée for the guest, everyone else had finished their meals. Even worse, the second entrée was also incorrect. The waiter did not even offer to give the customer a free meal to compensate for the horrible experience.
Hyken points out both of these servers had one thing in common: an attitude. The one who displayed great customer service had a can-do attitude to please the customer, no matter what. Most servers would not bother to call a spouse at home to implore that person to go to the grocery store to make up for a restaurant's lack of menu choices. The server probably won a customer for life, got a great tip and earned the respect of his supervisor. Contrarily, the sloppy server probably needs a vacation.
Attitude cannot be taught. However, great customer service involves an element of preparation as well. Customer service representatives, at any level, should have the training and freedom to deal with any situation when a problem arises. The excellent server from the story had the tools available to come through for a customer. An understanding supervisor who knows the customer is always right probably imparted this on the server to ensure repeat business and a fantastic experience.
A great attitude with respect to customer service creates buzz for a company that no amount of marketing strategies, red tag sales and social media posts can produce. Great customer service employs word-of-mouth advertising, which is the most valuable marketing tool of all. Awesome, can-do attitudes create excellent reputations.
Photo courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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