Boosting Customer Service Part 1

November 3, 2003

Ten Tips for Creating Enticing Customer Service

By: Christopher DeVany

Let me start by saying that none of us can over-invest effort “thinking like the customer”. The reality is, the more earnestly we “think like the customer”, the better our organization’s customer service practices become and the more profitable we are.

So, when we are the customer, what do we want from those whose products and service we purchase? How about this for a Top 10 List:

  1. Stand for Better Performance

  2. Greet the Customer Promptly and Courteously

  3. Ask, Listen, Ask and Listen (ALAL)

  4. Offer a Service Promise

  5. Deliver What You Promise (and maybe more!)

  6. “How Did You Hear of Us?”

  7. “What Are We Doing Well?”

  8. “What Can We Do Better?”

  9. “Let’s Stay In Touch”

  10. “Do You Know Anyone Else Who Would Benefit from Our Service?”

Tip #1: Stand for Better Performance
“Standing” for better performance has at least two meanings: reminding yourself and others what you “stand for” and physically standing while you work. Each has significance. If you look at every study completed to date, employees cite the following as their top 3 reasons for enjoying their work:
1. Being given a chance to work on a project which they value (empowerment).
2. The people they work with and work for (professional relationships).
3. Compensation (benefits and wages).

What are you as a manager doing to support these stated needs? How effectively are you and others communicating your organization’s mission, vision and values? Are you empowering your people? Are you striving to make a conscious effort at supporting healthy workplace discourse and relationships? Do employees value the incentives and rewards your organization offers?

The second definition of “Standing for better performance” is to physically stand in one’s workstation, cubicle or office. As one who has learned repeatedly about the physiological benefits gained from standing, let me share these: freer physical movement, improve blood and oxygen flow, stimulate thinking and creativity, to name a few. Liberate yourself and your co-workers by supporting standing in the workplace.

To bring both concepts together, when was the last time you had a discussion about what your organization stands for? Providing everyone with an opportunity to celebrate what’s “right” with your organization helps them celebrate successes and also makes it much more difficult nay-sayers to articulate what they think is “wrong” with your organization.

Tip #2: Greet the Customer Promptly and Courteously
Did you ever set foot in a store and not receive immediate attention? Have you also received too much attention? Isn’t there a middle ground somewhere?

How quickly and courteously are your colleagues greeting customers? Are they starting with a professional greeting, such as, “Thank you for stopping at/calling Smith’s. This is Bonnie Jones. How may I help you?”

That “How may I help you?” question is one of the best, because you are not giving the slightest impression that you might be able to help them; you are communicating clearly that not only can you help them, but that they have a choice of deciding how you may help them.

For example, I’m always amazed how, whenever I call Lands’ End, the phone never rings. I am always greeted almost immediately by a human being and not by a voice mail prompt. How do they do that? Jamie Schandt of Lands’ End cites the following: Continuous training, staffing based on when catalogs are mailed, three phone centers and a continuous commitment to solving customer needs.

Look for tips 3-6 in the next article.

(c) Christopher R. DeVany. All rights reserved.

Chris DeVany is the president of Pinnacle Performance Improvement Worldwide, a management consulting and training firm. For more information, call 508-358-8070, send Chris an e-mail at or visit their Web site at

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