Service With a Smile: 10 Ways to Be a Better Customer
March 6th is Employee Appreciation Day, which makes this an excellent time to explore what makes customer service employees so important to our daily lives. Let’s face it, we all want to receive fantastic customer service, whether we’re shopping at the mall, dining out, or trying to solve a problem over the phone.
What if the key to ensuring that you get fabulous customer service time and again is as easy as sharing a smile?
We rely on customer service employees for almost every aspect of our lives. Making sure that we are showing them respect and kindness at all times is the first way to not only show your appreciation for the help that they provide but also to ensure that you will be treated in kind.
So, if you want to bring more love and light into the world, all while increasing your personal customer service experience, keep reading to find out how!
Practical Ways to Get the Best Customer Service
While we’re going to focus primarily on the treatment of customer service employees and how kindness vastly improves your chances of receiving fantastic service, there are a few practical applications that will improve your experience.
1. Avoid Peak Times or Give Yourself Enough Time
If you know a place is busy at noon, aim to go earlier or later than that time. Or if you can’t avoid it, make sure you give yourself ample time to get the service you require instead of trying to get something in the same amount of time that you would if it were empty.
Also, when it comes to calling customer service helplines, the best time to call a customer service line is around 7 a.m. to receive the best service. Employees are more likely to have plenty of energy during this time, and the wait times are much shorter early in the morning. In fact, wait times are about 70% shorter on average when calls are placed before noon.
2. Aim for Wednesdays & Thursdays
Weekdays are often when things are the slowest and a customer service person can give you their full attention, this may vary depending on the business.
If you’re calling a customer service helpline, Wednesdays and Thursdays often have the shortest wait times.
3. Prepare Yourself Beforehand
Before you call or visit a customer service employee for help with an issue, make sure that you have done your own research and troubleshooting. They will appreciate your willingness to try to find solutions on your own before making a visit.
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4. Share Joy & Appreciation
You don’t have to wait until you get home to leave a good review when you get fantastic service—tell the manager before you leave. This gives the employer a better opportunity to identify who did a great job. Plus, when you share more joy, you receive more joy. Everyone wants to be recognized when they do a good job, and giving that recognition reinforces your connection to great customer service experiences.
We also attract what we spend most of our time thinking about. Focusing on the times when you receive good service will amplify those experiences.
5. Consider Their Perspective
One of the biggest conflict causers in customer service is assuming that the customer service worker knows as much as you do. When asking for a service, ensure that you are speaking with all the information necessary for them to understand and help you.
This doesn’t mean talking down to them or in a condescending tone, it just means that you acknowledge that they are trying their best, and the best comes from all the information needed.
6. Put Your Cellphone Away
Imagine that you were trying to ask someone what they wanted, but they weren’t paying attention and on their phone… that would drive you crazy, right? The same thing applies when ordering something or receiving help from a customer service worker. This is where so many mistakes are made and it entirely takes any humanizing factors out of the person who is trying to assist you.
So put the phone away for a minute or so, and say thank you.
7. Review Good Services
When you take the time to go online and praise a company that has provided you with excellent service, you’re encouraging that company and its employees to keep up the good work. Many people only go online to leave negative feedback, as the experience of bad customer service can leave more of a mark than a pleasant experience.
If you can take a moment to send appreciation their way, they’ll be more likely to remember and take care of you the next time you visit or call in.
8. Speak to the Manager
... to tell them when an employee has gone above and beyond for you.
Most of the time, people only talk to the manager when things have gone wrong, but if we were to do the opposite, we open up doors for people who are kind and deserving.
9. Respect the Rules
This plays into the last rule a bit. In many instances, the person you are talking to has no control over the rules of an establishment, so asking them for free extras can put them in a very uncomfortable position. If you’d like something beyond the norm, you can ask, but also be considerate and understanding if they cannot bend the rules for you.
Sometimes it can be their livelihood on the line just so you can use a coupon, we must think of the other person as well as ourselves, which ties into our next tip.
10. Be Empathetic
Chances are, if you’re calling into customer service, you might be frustrated about a product that has not yet arrive or is not working. Think about the frustrating you feel dealing with this issue, and then try to put yourself in your helpful customer representative’s position. This is someone who is likely talking to frazzled, frustrating, and angry people day in and day out—which can really wear on someone. Make sure that you aren’t adding to their stress by overreacting or sending anger their way.
Customer service employees, whether by phone or in person, are there to try to help you. They typically want to find a solution just as much, if not more, than you do. While your situation may be incredibly frustrating, try to put things into perspective. Plus, the more understanding that you are, the more an employee will be willing and happy to help you.
If you’re eating out and your server brings you the wrong meal or ingredients you didn’t ask for, try to remember that mistakes happen. It may have been a mistake that happened in the kitchen, or simply that your server is human and made an error. Becoming upset will not make the experience more pleasant for anyone.
Things happen. Humans make mistakes. Empathy is a crucial trait when it comes to interacting with customer service employees.
Being more understanding of others will also help you attract empathetic energy from those around you. Give empathy to receive empathy.
An Attitude of Gratitude
As you can see, kindness and empathy are critical ingredients in the recipe of fantastic service. Doing what you can to be more understanding will not only increase your customer service satisfaction, it will help you avoid getting frazzled in the first place.
Remember, we are all in this together. Appreciation for your global neighbors spreads an attitude of gratitude all around you, filling yourself and others with joy and understanding.
Say please and thank you, and remember that we’re all humans trying to get through the workday.
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