Sara Hardin

Customer Service 101

9:00 AM

When I started with Soft Flex Company, 11 years ago, I was a traveling sales rep.  Each week, we'd travel and set up a booth at a trade show, teach, demo, sell our products and then break down and head home again. Those first few years taught me a lot of about customer service. Not only did I learn about customer service within our booth, I learned a whole lot from the airlines, hotels, taxi drivers, restaurants and so on.  Here are a few helpful hints.

1. Empathize. Always put yourself in the customer's shoes. Try to see it from their point of view and feel what they are feeling.

2. Perspective.   Their unique perspective of the situation, product, encounter, etc is valid.  Also, you never know what happened 10 minutes, 10 hours or 10 days before your encounter with this person.  Their perspective of the same situation might be entirely different from yours due to past experience. That doesn't make you wrong, or them wrong, it just means you see things differently and that's okay.

2. Listen. Customer feedback is a valuable tool for learning about how you can service all of your customers better in the future.  Don't pass up on this opportunity by shutting them out and not listening.

3. Apologize. If you made an error, apologize.  People make mistakes and most people understand that they aren't perfect and you aren't perfect.  But, usually they will accept an apology and move forward with a fresh foot.

4. Returns and Exchanges.  Along with #3, people buy things and need to return or exchange them.  Again people make errors and that is normal.  Have a return and exchange policy that is flexible enough to work for your customers.  Here is our risk free return or exchange policy.

5.  Remain calm. No matter how upset someone may get, stay calm.  You can't control how someone else feels or reacts, but you can certainly control how you react.  Getting upset or arguing, doesn't solve any issues.

6. Smile.  Enjoy your job.  If you don't enjoy your job, maybe it is time for a career change.

From your experience, what else can you add to this list?

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2 fabulous thoughts ...

  1. Your tips are great and I think we could all use a little reminder to slow down, listen, and have some perspective from time to time.

    I have found that being polite and saying thank you can go a long way - as a customer or a service provider. And of course, a smile never hurts either.

  2. I think it is important to treat others the way you would want to be treated. I agree, being polite can go a long way.


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