Tuesday, September 11, 2012


7 Steps to Extraordinary Customer Service

Sep 11, 12 | 12:08 am
By Alan Fairweather
Do you want customers to return to your hotel or restaurant, to tell other people about your great service and spend even more money? Then Ordinary Customer Service won't do! You must deliver Extraordinary Customer Service.

What is Ordinary Customer Service?

Let me give you an example:
On one of my trips to South East Asia, I was conducting sales, customer service, and management seminars. I also enjoyed some well earned rest and recuperation. I used three hotels, two airlines, several restaurants and all the other services that a business person or tourist might use.
Aircraft departed on time, hotels provided the services detailed in their brochure, and restaurants served up some delicious meals. All things that I would describe as Ordinary Customer Service. However, none of this would necessarily make me loyal to these businesses or recommend them to other people; it takes more.

Add the little bit Extra

Let me give you an example of what I mean. One night in Singapore found me wandering around Little India looking for the restaurant that could serve the perfect curry. After much searching I decided on one particular place; must have been the sign outside - ‘We serve the perfect curry!' The food was good and the service was fast and efficient, however no more than any other restaurants I'd used in the past.
What made the difference for me was one small incident. After taking my food order, the manager returned to my table and introduced himself. He respectfully asked what had brought me to Singapore and showed great interest in what I had to say. He was warm friendly and told me how proud he was to be Singaporean. He then shook my hand, wished me success and told me how pleased he'd be to see me again.
All of this only took a few minutes but it made me feel really important and I felt good. Would I go back to this restaurant, of course I would; would I recommend it to other people, of course I would.
This small incident moved the service from Ordinary to Extraordinary.
Extraordinary customer service is about touching the customer on an emotional level. It's about letting them know that you care about them as human beings
Here are 7 steps that make the difference:
1. Warm and friendly responses. When customers meet you or your staff face to face, or speak to you on the telephone, they want to feel that you're pleased to see them and happy to help. For example - It's not so important what you say when you answer the telephone but more important how you say it.
2. They want to feel important. They know that you've lots of other customers and guests, but they just love it when you make them feel special.
3. To be listened to. Listening is probably the most important skill to develop when dealing with customers. It's been said that people are either speaking or waiting to speak. In order to build rapport with customers it's important to listen and show that you're listening. People like good listeners; listening gives you information and indicates to the customer that you're interested in them and value what they say.
4. Someone to know their name. A persons name is one of the sweetest sounds they'll ever hear. If you use a customers name when you talk to them, it indicates that you recognise them as an individual. Don't use it too often as it can become irritating, but definitely at the start and the end of a conversation.
5. Flexibility. - Customers hate to hear the word ‘No' or ‘It can't be done.' It's not always possible to say ‘Yes' to a customer or do exactly what they want; however, it's important to be as flexible as you can. Tell customers what you can do, not what you can't.
6. Fast recovery when something goes wrong. When things go wrong, customers want you to solve their problems quickly. They don't want to hear excuses or who's to blame, or why it happened, they just want it fixed fast.
Customers will often judge the quality of your service by the way you recover. They will even forgive your mistakes if you recover well.
7. They want to feel good. Overall, customers just want to feel good. They want to feel better after they've dealt with you or anyone in your business, than they did before. If you can create that feeling, then you're well on the way to giving your customers extraordinary service.
Remember- the difference between Ordinary and Extraordinary is just that little bit extra.

About Alan Fairweather 
alan_fairweather_400_02Article by Alan Fairweather, International Speaker and the author of, 'How to be a Motivational Manager, ‘How to Manage Difficult People' and ‘How to Make Sales When You Don't like Selling'. Visit: www.themotivationdoctor.com, for more information.

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