Recently I had two
examples of customer care. One was when my friend and I went to a well-known
(and pricey) restaurant, where we were ushered in with great pomp, napkins
were draped elegantly on our laps, then we were abandoned for what seemed
like hours before the waiter came to take our order. His manner seemed
to suggest that we were there to serve him; he was curt and impersonal.
Feeling subdued, we ordered. The food was fabulous, yet we couldn't
wait to get out of the place because the atmosphere was heavy and the
Last Wednesday I
drove up to Larry's Hi-way Diner for breakfast. I'd never been there
before but Larry himself greeted me with a cup of steaming coffee and
a grand smile. His energy was contagious. The food was good but it was
Larry's delight in serving that made it special. I left feeling like
a queen because Larry knew how to be attentive without being overbearing
and so far I've recommended his place to ten highway travelers.
We talk about it and think we know what it means, but do we really?
What does customer care mean to you? How can you keep on giving it
without giving out?
It's important to
understand that caring about others helps us. We feel better when
we are caring. Our sense of well-being increases when we think
we've helped another person or done a good job. Do you remember how
good you felt when you were a kid and helped that little old lady cross
the street? I do. She thanked me sweetly and I was almost bursting with
pride because I felt useful! I think each one of us needs
to believe that we make a difference and by giving sincere customer
care, we do.
Secondly, to be
there for others, we need to take time for our own personal nurturing
so we have something to give. Otherwise frustration and
deprivation will show in our body language or tone of voice - the jarring
music behind the words. One way we can do this is through listening
to our own needs and attending to them on a regular basis. For example,
throughout the day I get up from my desk and take stretch breaks to
let go of tension and tiredness. I also build energy boosters (fruit,
vitamins, mini-exercise) into the afternoon low periods and treat myself
to regular massage. Simple tools that enable me to stay energized. Here
are some other ideas that might prove useful for customer care.
- Ask customers
what they need and do whatever it takes to meet these needs.
complaints! Use complaints to raise the bar on your own performance.
Correct problems quickly. When you don't know the answer to a question,
tell the truth and also tell your customer that you'll be delighted
to discover the answer! Statistics show that 50-70 percent of unsatisfied
customers who have their complaints remedied return, whereas less
than l0 percent of those who do not air their complains leave
and never return to do business again! Like me at
that fancy restaurant. When you do get a complaint, thank the
customer for their frankness and then WOW them with your solution!
- Reach Out
Remember birthdays and anniversaries. When you hear success stories
about their children or their work teams, congratulate them for being
such great role models. Be innovative and look for ways to appreciate
- Support your
team. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, so when one
of your teammates is having difficulty, lend a helping hand or a listening
ear. Frequently catch co-workers doing something good and praise their
- Be confident!
There will never be another you, so, let your authenticity and your
warmth come through! There is nothing more appealing than genuine
caring so be yourself, be hospitable to others, and you will be truly
an ambassador of great customer service!