At Your Service
At Your Service: The Ten Commandments of Great Customer
By Susan Friedmann
Customer service is an integral part of our job and should not be seen as an
extension of it. A company’s most vital asset is its customers. Without them,
we would not and could not exist in business. When you satisfy our customers,
they not only help us grow by continuing to do business with you, but recommend
you to friends and associates.
The practice of customer service should be as present on the show floor as it is
in any other sales environment.
The Ten Commandments of Customer Service
1. Know who is boss. You are in business to service customer needs, and
you can only do that if you know what it is your customers want. When you truly
listen to your customers, they let you know what they want and how you can
provide good service. Never forget that the customer pays our salary and makes
your job possible.
2. Be a good listener. Take the time to identify customer needs by asking
questions and concentrating on what the customer is really saying. Listen to
their words, tone of voice, body language, and most importantly, how they feel.
Beware of making assumptions - thinking you intuitively know what the customer
wants. Do you know what three things are most important to your customer?
Effective listening and undivided attention are particularly important on the
show floor where there is a great danger of preoccupation - looking around to
see to whom else we could be selling to.
3. Identify and anticipate needs. Customers don't buy products or
services. They buy good feelings and solutions to problems. Most customer needs
are emotional rather than logical. The more you know your customers, the better
you become at anticipating their needs. Communicate regularly so that you are
aware of problems or upcoming needs.
4. Make customers feel important and appreciated. Treat them as
individuals. Always use their name and find ways to compliment them, but be
sincere. People value sincerity. It creates good feeling and trust. Think about
ways to generate good feelings about doing business with you. Customers are very
sensitive and know whether or not you really care about them. Thank them every
time you get a chance.
On the show floor be sure that your body language conveys sincerity. Your words
and actions should be congruent.
5. Help customers understand your systems. Your organization may have the
world's best systems for getting things done, but if customers don't understand
them, they can get confused, impatient and angry. Take time to explain how your
systems work and how they simplify transactions. Be careful that your systems
don't reduce the human element of your organization.
6. Appreciate the power of "Yes". Always look for ways to help
your customers. When they have a request (as long as it is reasonable) tell them
that you can do it. Figure out how afterwards. Look for ways to make doing
business with you easy. Always do what you say you are going to do.
7. Know how to apologize. When something goes wrong, apologize. It's easy
and customers like it. The customer may not always be right, but the customer
must always win. Deal with problems immediately and let customers know what you
have done. Make it simple for customers to complain. Value their complaints. As
much as we dislike it, it gives us an opportunity to improve. Even if customers
are having a bad day, go out of your way to make them feel comfortable.
8. Give more than expected. Since the future of all companies lies in
keeping customers happy, think of ways to elevate yourself above the
competition. Consider the following:
- What can you give customers that they cannot get elsewhere?
- What can you do to follow-up and thank people even when they don't buy?
- What can you give customers that is totally unexpected?
9. Get regular feedback. Encourage and welcome suggestions about how you
could improve. There are several ways in which you can find out what customers
think and feel about your services.
- Listen carefully to what they say.
- Check back regularly to see how things are going.
- Provide a method that invites constructive criticism, comments and
10. Treat employees well. Employees are your internal customers and need
a regular dose of appreciation. Thank them and find ways to let them know how
important they are. Treat your employees with respect and chances are they will
have a higher regard for customers. Appreciation stems from the top. Treating
customers and employees well is equally important.
Written by Susan A. Friedmann,CSP, The Tradeshow Coach, Lake Placid, NY, author:
“Meeting & Event Planning for Dummies,” working with companies to
improve their meeting and event success through coaching, consulting and
training. Go to http://www.thetradeshowcoach.com
to sign up for a free copy of ExhibitSmart Tips of the Week.