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How to show customers you appreciate their business

By on Apr 20, 2010 Editor's Pick 7 Comments

The company owner sets the rules, and employees need to live and know them. The old adage “the customer is always right” isn’t realistic, but empowering employees and rewarding employees for superb service helps each customer sense your appreciation.

Perhaps sharing the following with the front line people can add to the desired goals of dependability, promptness and competence. Helping the customer service representative communicate in an upbeat, positive way, may just help the customer feel appreciated. Here are some useful phrases to incorporate in customer communications:

- “Good morning. How can I help you?” This starts the conversation in a friendly, non adversarial tone plus invites discussion. A customer feels you want to help them and not sell them a product and also putting them at ease.
- “I can help you solve your problem.” Now the customer service professional places the customer as the most important participant and promises a positive outcome. The positive statement inspires customer confidence.
- “I am not sure of the answer but I will find out for you by ……”. A sophisticated buyer could be bating a customer service representative for an answer the customer already knows, so it is always best to be honest and not just try to wow a customer with some fancy rhetoric without a definitive and honest answer. Honest answers inspire integrity.
- “I am responsible for this and I will take care of it.” A customer knows what to expect and can depend on the customer service representative to stick by the agreed upon terms, price and if applicable… the promised delivery date.
- “I will call you on Friday ( or whenever) and update you on my progress.” If you promise to call on Friday with updates, make sure you follow-up and make sure you call.
- “Your delivery date is set for ….” If a delivery date is set for Thursday, it is the company’s job to make sure the delivery day is met. Sometimes it takes a better relationship with vendors to ensure delivery dates. When companies pay vendors on time, learn to deal with honorable vendors, insist on reliability and dependability of their vendors, delivery dates happen at specified and agreed upon dates and times. Efficient pre-planning and efficiency don’t just happen; they are cultivated and nurtured.
- “I have the particulars of your order. Let’s go over it.” Each order must be exactly what the customer ordered. Customers don’t want to hear of a similar product or a promise that what you are going to deliver is better. They want what they ordered.
- “Did you get everything you ordered and are you satisfied with your order?” The order should be complete and the customer should have everything they ordered, in the time they ordered, in the method agreed upon when ordered, and in great condition.

    Superior customer service includes, the infamous “I appreciate your business, and is there anything else I can do for you?” Follow-up with surveys, thank-you notes and, more service; customers are sure to keep coming back.

    photo credit: JSmith Photo

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    Republished with author's permission from original post.

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    7 Responses to How to show customers you appreciate their business

    1. Susan Hamilton April 21, 2010 at 12:56 pm #

      I spent several years in customer service back when it was common to teach it and act on it. These days, I don’t know if it’s not being taught or if the nuances are just ignored, but I see a trend with front-end staff that’s disturbing. We were taught to look people in the eyes and smile, shake hands, greet and close a sale or issue on a sincere and positive note. To this day, I recognize when an employee has been trained well in customer service. It does matter to me how I’m treated at the counter. I don’t like to feel like I’m just a part of someone’s horrible day. That knowledge, however, makes me very careful to be gracious and extend my appreciation for my clients and the business they bring me. It was good of you to bring this back to the forefront of conversation with practical application.

    2. Paul April 21, 2010 at 5:17 pm #

      The line, “Good morning. How can I help you?” is something I want to hear in stores like Home Depot and Radio Shack, where I usually know what I want but do not know where it is. It is a put-off in shops like ours, where people want to browse and see what kind of apparel we offer. They typically are not ready for help, and they want usually to be left alone to browse. But they do enjoy a friendly greeting and an offer of being available for them. The “How can I help you?” question made sense in “the old days” where clothing was kept on shelves and drawers behind counters. It is simply not as relevant in stores where 100 per cent of the merchandise is on display.

    3. Cate April 22, 2010 at 5:15 pm #

      While I do appreciate all the phrases you listed in your article, the one I most like to hear is “Thank You”.

    4. Tommy April 26, 2010 at 8:52 am #

      Great advice, but let’s try, “How may I help you?”

    5. Dana April 26, 2010 at 11:23 am #

      Paul –
      I think you might be missing the meaning… Certainly in stores where a customer can see all the product offered and easily find what they need, an offer for assistance may not be necessary. And as a customer, I agree that I do enjoy being able to peruse the selections prior to needing assistance. However, I also appreciate when a sales person says something along the lines of “If there’s anything I may be able to assist you with, please let me know…” This helps me feel that I won’t be seen as an intrusion to their day if I have a question and that they are indeed here to serve me and not just take my money once I’ve made my selections. I hope you are not implying that your customers all want to be left alone to browse the *entire* time they are in your enviroment… Otherwise, will they assume that you don’t have their size in stock if they don’t come across it themselves while browsing? Or will they ever see that awesome accessory that perfectly matches the outfit they tried on? Offering assistance is part of providing customer service in a selling environment. That doesn’t mean forcing yourself upon your customer or “hard” selling, but it does mean acknowledging that you are there to help your customers when they need it and letting them know that. I think this is what Cheryl intended with this phrase…

    6. Grranimals April 26, 2010 at 12:45 pm #

      “Good morning, I CAN help you”

      Why ask the question, state that you can help them. By asking the question, your begging for a ‘No’ answer (which has been found in study after study is the answer giving 95% of the time) and thusly you set off a negative experience for your customer.

    7. Carl Henry April 28, 2010 at 11:41 am #

      Having a great customer service attitude is good, but delivering quality service is better…doing both is best. The goal is to become a hassle-free customer service provider. Carl Henry

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