What Your Mama Taught You
About Customer Service

by Pat Weber

Remember your mother's advice when dealing with your customers.

The pearls of wisdom from mom in those moments of comfort or nasty reprimands are worth recalling. In the late 1950's television show "Father Knows Best," the dad would often say, "go ask your mother." Moms have the answers. Whether they are fact or fiction, their lessons can help us help our customers receive the satisfactory service we know they deserve. Here are six gems from moms.

"Be nice." This is an essential basic to keep in mind with the toughest of problems or the most ornery customer. Being pleasant is desirable, period. Management consultant Brian Tracy advises managers and owners to "hire nice."

"Stand up straight, shoulders back, chest out." On the telephone or in person your body language talks. Take note that it communicates your confidence to solve a problem and your concern to be a help. You can have all the right words but all the wrong moves will render your words as useless as a boat without oars, engine or sails.

"You pass this way but once. Any good you can do, do it now." That one time someone is dissatisfied and complains may be the one chance you hear of it. According to statistics it's a 4% chance someone will complain. The bravest of customers who come forward to tell you how you bungled your service or product, deserve your help for them going out on the limb.

"Make up your mind." Customer often want options. Two is enough for some; others prefer you that they give you their options. Your guide should be the latitude your organization gives you to work with. As a manager or owner your employees should know what the boundaries are for satisfying customers. Give the customer some options. Then ask them to choose what would satisfy them the best.



"Act like the winner when you lose." There will be someone you or an employee won't be able to satisfy. Being human we all will make mistakes. Don't lose the lesson when you are unsuccessful with a service recovery attempt . Learn from your failure. Take time to review what went wrong and how things went right.

"Trust yourself." What makes you feel good when you are the customer with a problem? What makes you resentful after a company, restaurant or physician staff ignores your requests for a solution? Trust yourself, trust your staff, to know what the right thing to do and say is. Our own experiences often shine on solutions for others.

Mothers' adages and wisdom reach into the workplace. Whether it was your mom or the one next door whose familiar rule or truth rings in your ears, take a moment to listen. The lessons are in some way applicable to each customer we serve.

Copyright 1998. Pat Weber is a speaker and trainer providing keynotes and workshops that bolster customer relationships. She is the author of Sales Skills for an Unfair Advantage: 104 Sales Tips for People in a Hurry. She can be reached at 757-259-1684, email at pweber@prostrategies.com or visit her website http://www.prostrategies.com.

 
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