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How to be an ambassador of Great Customer Care
By Angela Jackson   Printer Friendly Version

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 service chilly.

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.

Customer Care. 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.

  1. Ask customers what they need and do whatever it takes to meet these needs.
  2. Encourage 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!
  3. 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 your customers.
  4. 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 efforts.
  5. 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!

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