Skillset New Zealand Blog

Ideas to help your team develop personally and professionally.
How can we stand out from the crowd so they remember us with pleasure and respect?

The Golden Rule
'The customer is royalty'

1. Keep your customers fully briefed. When will you have an answer to their enquiry or finish repairing their machine?

2. Keep a diary to remind you of your clients’ attitudes, interests, hobbies, and personal details the clients have told you. Note the names of their team members – and use them.

3. When clients call, go into listening mode. Ask questions. Complaint? Follow-up with more questions and show that it matters. Acknowledge the customers’ worries, frustration, or disappointment.

4. Ensure that your tone on the phone and in person reflects the customers’ royal status. Will your customers know that you are taking their problem seriously?

5. Carry out random acts of kindness. Make sure they are appropriate to the client.

6. Make follow-up calls. ‘How’s business? How is our communication with you? How is our machine performing? Any problems we can help with?

7. Look for opportunities to add lagniappe – something extra they would value and are not expecting.

8. 'Promise bronze. Aim to deliver gold.’ Repairs will probably take a week? Say you’ll have them finished within 10 days. Aim for a week.

9. Encourage your clients to suggest and complain - early. Ask: how can we give you better service?

10. Discover what your clients dislike about using firms like yours and keep showing that it doesn't apply to you or your organisation.

11. Bring something for morning tea.

12. Find out what other suppliers are doing in your market. Brainstorm ways of taking their service to the next level.


Action, not just talk

Encourage your team to come up with their own ideas to extend the list. Then, make sure they see the results - asap. Do that and even the office grump will come around. Office grumps are the first to resist talk about customer service and will assume that it will come to nothing. Prove them wrong. 

The more control you give to your team as they turn talk into action the better. You want them to own the customer service improvement programme so they can look back and say 'we did that'.  Ownership keeps the momentum going and shows up in subtle ways like tone of voice and initiative.

Customer service is an opportunity for everyone to shine and a valuable attrribute for anyone intertested in developing their career. Help them shine. Encourage them to think of their achievements as examples they can add to their C.V. and discuss in their next promotion or job interview.

Are they struggling to come up with new ways to improve their customer service?

Encourage them to imagine what it's like being a customer of theirs. Lead them to examine their service in specific ways.

For example, 'Imagine visiting our office for the first time'...

  • What would you see? How would that make you feel? (Confused about where to go or who to see? Intimiated? Disappointed or impressed?)  
  • Would we introduce ourselves?
  • Would we make you feel special and that your issue mattered to us? How?

Look in detail and face reality

 Ask your team to consider...

  • communication (Do we keep customers informed? Do we tell them how long a job or delivery will take? What do we do if that changes?)
  • contact (What happens if someone is away? Are we always available? Should we be? After office hours?)
  • credibility (Do we let customers down? Do we know enough about our products and service to describe them accurately? Do customers know about our expertise?)
  • consistency (Do we give excellent service every time? Could we create a system so that we do?)
Ensure that your brainstorming keeps well clear of blame. It's not productive. Instead, encourage your team to think of lapses or gaps in their service as opportunties, because they are.










'You cannot reason people out of an opinion they have not reasoned themselves into.'

That's a modern way of saying what Jonathon Swift observed in 1721. 

The research makes it clear that our reasoning is not entirely logical, but we think it is. 

We treat our own opinions as more logical and well-informed than other people's opinions. We may not go as far as talking about alternative facts and rejecting other people's information or opinions as fake news, but it's only human to struggle with objectivity.

How much of a struggle?

Psychologists have studied more than 90 ways we humans compromise our objectivity. Let's look at a selection.

About Ralph Brown

ralph brown blog3

Ralph is our founder. He has a background in psychology, television journalism and business.

Ralph's passions are positive psychology and writing. He leads workshops on both and speaks to conferences on the psychology of thriving at work.

Professional Speakers Australia has awarded him its top speaking accreditation, the CSP. He has since been made a life member of Professional Speakers New Zealand.

He has written six books, six e-books and more than a hundred articles on psychology and writing. International research journals have published his articles reviewing the research on resilience.

Ralph lives in rural Canterbury. He is a JP and marriage celebrant and enjoys travelling to French-speaking countries.

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