Monday, December 1, 2008


Customer service

Tomorrow I will be facilitating a workshop on CUSTOMER SERVICE for managers and front line employees of a group that has two Golf Courses, Cabins, Summer Swimming Pool, Campground, Marina, Bait and Tackle Shop, Restaurant, and a Civic Center.

What does Customer Service mean to you? Is it important? Why? What tips would you offer? Do you have any Really GOOD Customer Service stories? Any REALLY BAD experiences? At least any that I could share?


Wikipedia's defination

Customer service is the provision of service to customers before, during and after a purchase.

According to Turban et al. (2002), “Customer service is a series of activities designed to enhance the level of customer satisfaction – that is, the feeling that a product or service has met the customer expectation.”


Sue said...

OH YAY! YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT WORK! Finally somebody's talking work. Thank God.

Jim said...

You know, this is one of those that you think of when it happens, whether it be a good experience or a bad one. I tried to find an old post I did on bad customer service experiences but I can't find it. I'll try to start making a note of the good and bad customer experiences that I encounter. I have noticed that stores are much more friendly now that the economy is in the toilet. However, today I was in Harry and David's and would have bought some things if they had given me a little attention. The two clerks and store manager were too busy bitching about the fact that their corporate office only allowed $5 per associate for a Christmas party. They were trying to plan a party for $75 and couldn't decide whether to do BBQ or pizza. I laughed and left the store empty handed. Actually I went in to buy some of their soup mixes but they were having their bitch session right in front of the soup mixes! So, there is one for you after all. LOL We'll all have to start making notes on our customer service experiences for you.

Ann said...

Oh no... Sue you will get me going if you're not careful!

ooops...The workshop is only one of the things I have to do in the morning.. and then there is lunch meeting with our Chairmen to plan the big Thursday meeting, computer class in the afternoon, and then have to speak about 'Who we are and what we do, and why you should fund us' at a 5:00 reception for newly elected officials and investors..... Then I put on the Mommie hat and head to the high school BB game where my youngest is the manager of the girls teams. ... LOL,.,, just ask Jim- I love my busy life and would have to create something if it wasn't like this (well... a little less hectic would be nice)

Ann said...

Jim that is a perfect story! Thank you! I will definitely use this tomorrow!

Now if you ever do decide to go back and give them another try... they have the Most wonderful Pepper and Onion Relish- that when mixed with cream cheese is awesome! Especially when dipped with those long skinny crunch bread sticks.

Sue said...

Ann, for me as a consumer, customer service is the difference between keeping my business and loosing it. It's more important to me than price.
Your audience tomorrow works in an industry which relies on repeat business, more so than say straight retail, and most of their clientele will have a fair amount of disposable income which they can easily take elsewhere. So WalMart mentality won't work.

On a practical level, a few thoughts come to mind.
- A simple acknowledgment of the cust. upon arrival, so they know that you know they're there.
- In the event of a complaint, listening and making an effort to remedy the issue. Most people will settle for less than ideal if they know you're trying to do your job and get them some satisfaction
- And of course, know your blooming product, what you have, where it is. Don't be so darn clueless.
- And learn to say "Do you have any questions?" and "How can I help you?"

I have lots of stories about dealing with irate clients, but that's probably not what you're looking for.
In general, I have found that being very proactive, right out of the gate, when dealing with people helps to gain their immediate trust, saves hassles later on, and brings the people back to me.

Angie ^i^ said...

Things I like:

#1: A friendly Smile
#2: A warm Welcome
#3: A SINCERE Thank You
#4: Someone who takes the time to understand what it is that I'm looking and truly tries to accommodate me (even if they fail).
#5: Someone who knows their product well, or at least knows how to find the answer.
#6: Someone who truly enjoys their job. Enthusiasm is rare these days.
#7: Someone who goes the extra mile. For example: At Dillard's the other day I was purchasing some clothing for the kids. I asked the guy who had been helping me where Customer Service was as I needed a few boxes. He said I have some right here... which was ODD! We got to talking and I found out that at the start of each day he takes the time to gather a lot of little extras for his clients and puts them behind the counter so they don't have to walk elsewhere for their needs!! Needless to say, I'll be taking ALL my Dillard's purchases to him from now on (regardless of what I'm buying, or how far I'll have to walk to get to his department). As a thank you to him, I found a dozen random people in the store who weren't being helped in the department they were in and got them to go to his department to make their purchases... I went back later on to buy one last item and he looked at me and said "What did you do?" .. I told him I returned the favor! He was so appreciative. It seems they base the need for an employee at Dillard's by the number of transactions they complete.

Oh.. and before y'all say anything, he was GAY, I wasn't hitting on him!! LOL

Things that more often than not will make me leave a business:

#1: Acting as if I'm doing THEM a favor by be there.
#2: A manager fussing at an employee in front of me or other customers.
#3: Rudeness.
#4: Lack of service.
#5: Being TOO pushy.
#6: Not caring whether I'm a satisfied customer or not.

Ann ~ I think this is what you're looking for, but before I totally hijack your blog, I'll stop listing things now.. but obviously I could go on and on!! LOL

Jim said...

Ann they have a new line of dips. They had a some samples of two of them but it was one pretzel pre-dipped (just barely) and the pretzel was soggy. I was ready to buy some dip but that also turned me off. I'll definitely go back though. They were actually pretty friendly but didn't go that extra step to get me to turn loose of some money. Now if you had been working there, I have no doubt I would have left with a bag full of goodies, saying why in the hell did I buy all this stuff. LOL

Sue said...

Man, Ann. We're just a little bit Type-A, aren't we? lol.

Ann said...

I love it! I love it! Thanks for all the tips and tidbits. These are EXACTLY what I need for tomorrow. Keep em coming cuz I do these workshop about once a month and need fresh ideas like these.

I'm heading off to bed so I will be able to get up in the morning and actually do the workshop! I'll check in in the morning for more.... workshops material!

Thank you everyone for dropping by the blog. It's a long story why I quit blogging about a year ago and I have truly missed it. This has been a shot in the arm that I've really needed! Thank you!

Angie ^i^ said...

Sweet Dreams Ann and KICK HINEY tomorrow!!!