Golden Rule of Customer Service

Golden Rule of Customer Service:
Give What You’d Like to Get


Clip name: RP-FH141-97

In just two days I’ve had two customer service experiences at opposite ends of the spectrum.

At the fast food joint promising to “have it your way,” the gorgeous young girl taking my order couldn’t remember for two seconds what “my way” was. I had to repeat everything several times, yet when she read back my order an item was still missing. Though they were out of a number of items, she continued to take orders as though they were available.

Recently, a friend backed into my car. Her insurance company’s handling of the claim was definitely on the opposite end of the customer service scale. From the initial phone call to the final follow-up, their message was one of assurance: “We want to fix the damage promptly, at your convenience, and to your satisfaction so that you can put this behind you!” Then they did.

This got me to thinking about the “Golden Rule of Customer Service.” I Googled it and got lots of solid answers, but here’s what it looks like to me:

First and most obvious: Treat your customers the way you dream of being treated. That looks different for different people, businesses, and situations, but it boils down to the fact that each of us wants to be important enough to be noticed, heard, and valued. I want sales people to stop talking to each other, look me in the eye, and make me the center of their attention. I want them to behave as thought it’s urgent that I leave satisfied. After all, I actually pay their salary.

Second: Don’t promise what you can’t or don’t intend to deliver. If you say you’ll call me back, then do it. I don’t like to expect delivery by someone’s birthday when it isn’t going to happen. I’m an adult who can deal with the facts. If it can’t be done, just politely say so, and I’ll make an intelligent choice to continue with the transaction or make other arrangements. Your helpful alternative and honesty will bolster my confidence that you’re looking out for me.

Third: Often there’s an opportunity to give more than a yes or no answer. When asked, “Do you have this in green” the answer might be no, but asking a few questions might give you a clue to finding something else that satisfies the need – an “ above and beyond” service. Your products might be the same as your competitors’, but your service can be unique. Work for your customer as though you highly depend on his or her satisfaction, because you do.

And fourth: I like it when I get what you say you offer. If your company projects the image of caring, speed, or quality, then that’s what I want to get. Be what you say you are and more, not less.

“To give real service, you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.”1 I think that sums up the “Golden Rule of Customer Service” quite nicely.

1 “Douglas Adams.” Xplore Inc, 2013. 21 May 2013.

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