5 Ways to Stay on Top of the Customer Service Nice List This Year


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While all businesses want to be on the nice list when it comes to customer service, sometimes budgets, bah-humbug policies and the pressures of earnings goals can get the best of any organization. Consumer Reports recently unveiled its 2012 Naughty and Nice Holiday List, a year-end look at companies that have been good, or not so good, when it comes to one or more specific practices.

The popular list is based on input from Consumer Reports editors and reporters who cover shopping, travel, hospitality, telecommunications and visitor input on the Consumer Reports Facebook page. The naughty and nice ratings highlight specific customer service policies and are in no way reflective of any company as a whole.

Among those recognized on this year’s nice list were Drury Hotels which Consumer Reports notes lives up to its brand promise that “the extras aren’t extra.” Kohl’s is also on the list for its talk-the-talk, walk-the-walk “No Questions Asked – Hassle Free” return policy without any time limit. PNC Bank also made the list for its free basic checking account with no minimum balance, and overall consumer friendliness.

Caught on the naughty list this year were Spirit Airlines for charging up to $100 to stow a carry-on bag in an overhead bin (it’s free if you can stuff it under the seat) depending on whether you declare the carry-on in advance, at the airport or at the gate, and Ticketmaster for charging $2.50 per order for customers to print out their own tickets. TigerDirect also made the list for its significant return policy which reads in part that the products “must be 100% complete, in the same condition as when sold, and in the original packaging . . . all packing materials, manuals, diskettes, CDs, digital media, blank warranty cards and other accessories and documentation must be included. Kits and other items assembled after purchase must be unassembled and returned in the manufacturer’s original packaging.” In addition, “All returns will be inspected and products found to be non-conforming will be rejected or subject to a restocking fee” of up to 25 percent “at TigerDirect.com’s sole discretion.”

(Click here to read the full 2012 Consumer Reports Naughty or Nice list.)

5 Ways to Stay on the Customer Service Nice List All Year Long:

So how can your business or organization stay on your customers’ nice list? Here are 5 delightful ways:

1. Keep your customers informed. Send them updates on when products will arrive without them having to ask, or create a self-service portal where customers can check in on the status of their various customer service questions whenever it’s convenient for them.

2. Small savings and little extras mean a lot. Offer free shipping or pricing specials. Who doesn’t love a deal these days? Provide proactive service to create a WOW customer experience. (Click here to read advice from Shep Hyken on the power of proactive service).

3. Give thanks. Consumers have so many other options when it comes to who they spend their money with, and with smartphones and social media, they’re all just a click away. Let customers know you appreciate them. We appreciate our customers. They’re all fantastic, and their ideas and customer service best practices inspire us.

4. Keep the communication channels open. Have as many service channels as possible available, so that customers and potential ones never get frustrated when they attempt to engage with your organization. Offer customer service options such as online chat, a self-serve knowledgebase, social customer service and additional options to provide your customers with the channel that they prefer or the one that is most convenient to them at the time they need to engage. Strive to offer a seamless experience, where the customer can continue their service experience in real-time through various channels without having to repeat themselves each time they re-engage with your organization.

5. Ask customers how you’re doing and how you can serve them better. Consumers enjoy providing their feedback and appreciate when you ask for their opinion. Send out an end-of-the-year survey to see what they appreciate and what can be improved upon. Poll them on Facebook throughout the year or after a service interaction.

Track what consumers search for and where they get hung up in the purchasing or service process. Collect and review key metrics relating to the customer experience and customer service productivity. Review consumer emails, tickets or chats, and research and hone SEO keywords and create content on topics that interests your customers before they even request it.

Customers are both directly and indirectly telling you or others what they want and need from your organization, and what they’re delighted and disappointed by; take advantage of all of this to ensure you’re at the top of your customers’ nice list every year!

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Republished with author's permission from original post.

Tricia Morris
Tricia Morris is a product marketing director at 8x8 with more than 20 years of experience at technology companies including Microsoft and MicroStrategy. Her focus is on customer experience, customer service, employee experience and digital transformation. Tricia has been recognized as an ICMI Top 50 Thought Leader, among the 20 Best Customer Experience Blogs You Must Follow, and among the 20 Customer Service Influencers You Must Follow.


  1. Great insights on customer service! I especially like the tip about giving thanks. Showing customers you appreciate them by just saying thanks every once in a while lets them know you do still care. Most people don't write hand written notes anymore so personally, those are my favorite. Communicating back with customers is definitely the key to success and loyalty. For more information on how to improve customer service, visit us at http://www.impactlearning.com/solutions/training-programs/customer-service/customer-service-training/

  2. Thanks Rebecca for your positive comments! (Handwritten notes are a favorite of mine, as well – a lost art, but very meaningful.) We also enjoy Impact Learning’s customer service content – you have some great tips on your site and blog.


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