Customer Care Tip – Tell the Customer What You Are Going to Do: The Next Step

Customer Service Tip – Tell the Customer What You Are Going to Do – The Next Step

Let’s face it; we have all had bad customer service experiences. Like me, I bet you can recall the details of every instance of bad service. If you are like most people, you probably told anyone who would listen about your dreadful experience.

The average customer will tell many people of a bad experience. That’s the type of word of mouth advertising we do not want.

One way to avoid painful misunderstandings is to tell the customer what you are going to do. Make sure they understand the next steps in the process.

Here’s a checklist to help:

  1. Recap expectations and follow-up items in a summary form.
  2. Ask the customer if your understanding is correct.
  3. Tell them your name and that you are the person responsible for resolving the issue.
  4. Tell the customer any requirements they have. Examples would be:
    1. What paperwork or documentation do they need to provide?
    2. What format is the paperwork or documentation? Electronic or paper?
    3. When is the paperwork or documentation due?
    4. Contact information if they need help, have questions, or need an extension?
  5. Tell them what to expect from you.
    1. How will you acknowledge receipt of the paperwork or documentation?
    2. How long will it take to process?
    3. What you they expect to receive from you and when?
    4. How is resolution notification handled? The is a great touch point for a courtesy contact of the customer.
    5. Contact information if they have questions or if they feel you are too slow and need a status update.

Having a road map to help the customer understand the next steps is an excellent way to create goodwill. The client has confidence when they have an understanding of the process. Knowing by name a contact person who handles managing their issue is a core ingredient to world-class customer service. You can provide this point of touch even if the follow-up work is someone else’s. The name you give is the one managing the incident or case.

Follow through on all promises. A great plan requires execution. Failure to follow through will lose all the great service and goodwill you work so hard to create.

Customer Service Tip – Tell the Customer What You Are Going to Do – The Next Step


Jimmie Aaron Kepler

Jimmie Aaron Kepler’s work has appeared in six different Lifeway Christian publications as well as The Baptist Program, Thinking About Suicide.com, Poetry & Prose Magazine, vox poetica, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Bewildering Stories, Beyond Imagination Literary Magazine and more. His short story stories The Cup, Invasion of the Prairie Dogs, Miracle at the Gibson Farm: A Christmas Story, and The Paintings as well as Gone Electric: A Poetry Collection are available on Amazon.com.

Customer Care Tip – Taking short-cuts/not asking for the sale is bad customer service.

Customer Care Tip – Taking short-cuts/not asking for the sale is bad customer service.

Let me share with you a recent experience of receiving poor customer service. Here are some of the lessons from the situation and my story.

Last Saturday morning my car battery died. It was the original equipment battery that came with the car. Let’s face it, car batteries die. My story is the service or lack of good services I received from a garage that has worked on my vehicles for fifteen years. During those years, I have paid them over $10,000 for both routine maintenance and major repairs for more than a half-dozen cars I have owned.

In the thirty days before my battery died my car had been in their shop three times. The first time it was there my engine had died when I was driving down the highway. It had happened one other time about a week earlier, as well. In both instances, I only turned the key and restarted the car. I asked them to check the fuel and electrical system to see what was happening. They found nothing.

About ten days later I was back to have for my annual state inspection. They inspected the car and sent me on my way.

My third visit was just a week before the battery failed. This time I was in for an oil change. When the car was ready, I noticed they had not washed the windshield and windows like they usually do when I get the oil changed. I also found they had not vacuumed my car. The complimentary cleaning of the interior is one of the services they provide make their higher prices more tolerable.

Here is why I got upset this time. I realized they usually used their battery tester every time I was in for routine service or major repairs. They would always let me know how the battery tested and if it was nearing the end of its life cycle. I had them pull my records. They attach a copy of the battery test to the invoice when they check the battery.  They had not tested my battery my battery my last three visits.

I addressed the lack of testing with the shop foreman and then the owner. They had failed to check my battery. They also had not provided their concierge-class complimentary services.

What I received was the excuse that they had made a conscious decision due to the increased workload to service customers faster by not testing the battery or cleaning the car. They equated better service with handling a higher volume of clients instead of providing their past quality service.

The results of their actions caused me to get stranded for over an hour while I waited for assistance. They also missed out on selling me a battery. If they had tested and then told me the results showed that it would fail soon, I would have bought a new one immediately.

I believe their short-cut contributed to my being stranded with a dead battery. They missed the chance to make a sale. They also missed out on creating goodwill.

Most of all, they are now at risk of losing me and my extended family as well as my friends as customers.

Customer Care Tip – Taking short-cuts/not asking for the sale is bad customer service.


Jimmie Aaron Kepler

Jimmie Aaron Kepler’s work has appeared in six different Lifeway Christian publications as well as The Baptist Program, Thinking About Suicide.com, Poetry & Prose Magazine, vox poetica, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Bewildering Stories, Beyond Imagination Literary Magazine and more. His short story stories The Cup, Invasion of the Prairie Dogs, Miracle at the Gibson Farm: A Christmas Story, and The Paintings as well as Gone Electric: A Poetry Collection are available on Amazon.com.

Customer Care Tip – Your attitude should be, “It’s a joy to help.”

Customer Care Tip – Your attitude should be, “It’s a joy to help.”

I do technical customer service and support by choice, not by chance. There are other jobs and tasks I could do instead. However, I enjoy serving people and not being a servant to a computer server.

Years ago I decided customer service was a mindset. I could choose to give poor, average, or great customer service to my clients. My attitude toward them was not dependent upon how nice or demanding they were toward me. I believe everyone needs the same level of service I would give my mother or my spouse. I learned a long time ago that rarely is the client or users reaction to me personal. I should give my best. The result is they’ll get great service and reflect a more positive attitude back toward me. I honestly believe this. I have experienced it.

Colossians 3:23 in the King James Version of the Bible reads, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;”. You may ask what a Bible verse has to do with customer service. My thought is we need to realize that our role is serving the customer. When we give our best, it has an active reflection on us, our co-workers and management, and our company. Let your life be guided by religious belief, “to God be the glory.”

Remember you not only hold the key to the type of experience the customer has, but you hold the key to the way you react to your clients.

I’ll be honest and admit not all customers are a joy to help. Some clients can become a major challenge. When the customer is a challenge to help, it is time to give the extra effort and “nice them to death”. By that, I mean I double my efforts to take care of them. I make sure in spite of their bad attitude that I am the point of sunshine in their day. I make sure of the handling of their issue to mutual satisfaction. I do not let them get to me. I enjoy the challenge of helping them get from where they are to where they need to be.

You can’t make everything right for everyone. You can manage how you react to them. You can do your best to make sure they have a good experience. When resolving their issue why not join me in telling them, “It’s a joy to help”.

Customer Care Tip – Your attitude should be, “It’s a joy to help.”


Jimmie Aaron Kepler

Jimmie Aaron Kepler’s work has appeared in six different Lifeway Christian publications as well as The Baptist Program, Thinking About Suicide.com, Poetry & Prose Magazine, vox poetica, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Bewildering Stories, Beyond Imagination Literary Magazine and more. His short story stories The Cup, Invasion of the Prairie Dogs, Miracle at the Gibson Farm: A Christmas Story, and The Paintings as well as Gone Electric: A Poetry Collection are available on Amazon.com.

Customer Care Tip – Allow the Customer to Have a Good Experience.

Customer Care Tip – Allow the Customer to Have a Good Experience.

What is a purchaser’s experience when they have a customer service issue with your company? Is the issue handled to a mutually acceptable resolution? Is the patron’s experience a good one or one of frustration? Is your customer left with a good experience?

Most businesses policies (the why) and procedures (the how) are bountiful. Many times the regulations exist because once upon a time someone had good intentions. Our fairy tale like intent can turn into a nightmare. Policies designed to help our customers can morph into a procedural obstacle course of frustration.

We need to take a step back and look at the real reason for the policies in place and at the procedures for implementing said policies. It is not uncommon for careful analysis to come to the realization that our processes supply our needs while forgetting about the desires of our customers.

When customer’s needs take second place, they receive second class service. Fortunately, the situation is correctable. Here are a few simple steps to help make the service better.

  1. Ask your customers what their experience is like to work with you. Is it good? Is dealing with you a painful, cumbersome experience?
  2. Use a secret or mystery shopper to rate their experience with your business.
  3. Go undercover to find out for yourself what the experience is like dealing with your company. Will you like the answers you learn?
  4. Many times a good reference point on the level of customer care your company gives is found in how you are treated by your computer support people.

You hold the key to a customer’s experience when they have a customer service issue with your company.  You can make sure the issue is handled to a mutually acceptable resolution. You can ensure the customer’s experience is not one of frustration. You are the one who can allow the customer with a good experience.

Customer Care Tip – Allow the Customer to Have a Good Experience.


Jimmie Aaron Kepler

Jimmie Aaron Kepler’s work has appeared in six different Lifeway Christian publications as well as The Baptist Program, Thinking About Suicide.com, Poetry & Prose Magazine, vox poetica, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Bewildering Stories, Beyond Imagination Literary Magazine and more. His short story stories The Cup, Invasion of the Prairie Dogs, Miracle at the Gibson Farm: A Christmas Story, and The Paintings as well as Gone Electric: A Poetry Collection are available on Amazon.com.

Customer Care Tip – Respect Your Customer By Respecting Their Time.

Stopwatch in HandCustomer Care Tip – Give your customer respect by respecting their time.

The late comedian Rodney Dangerfield had a catchphrase, “I get no respect”. If your customers feel they get no respect, you’ll soon be out of a job. One way you can show respect to your customers is by honoring their time.

Today people are busier and busier than just twenty or thirty years ago. People are over scheduled. They work more hours now than ever before.

The last time I checked we still have only twenty-four hours to a day. Today people multi-task working from home in the evenings and even checking email and text messages from home and when they are out shopping.

Time is valuable. That is why people get unhappy when they think someone is wasting or intruding on their time.

When I make an outbound service call or call back to the customer, I ask them if this is a good time for them. I ask this question even when I have an appointment with them. Why do I do this? Situations change. You can listen to the background activity if you are calling someone on the phone for clues. You can tell if they are busy and stressed. You can offer to call back if the timing is wrong. You can suggest they call you when it is a better time.

Other times you may be providing face to face service to a client. Never forget they come to us needing us to do something for them. When they arrive, they want help now. They want everything solved on their schedule. Most of all, they do not want to be made to wait.

You know slow or bad service. Have you ever walked away because the person is just too slow? I have.  Slow or bad service is especially frustrating if it is taking too long for a job that should be quick and easily handled.

You would think since we all are busy, and all have experienced slow service it would be easy to remember to be not slow. Don’t do it to your customers! Slow or bad service includes how long someone waits on the telephone.

I find it easy to tell when someone is getting impatient. You should be able to determine that as well. If they are looking at their watches, you know you are probably guilty of doing things too slowly!

You need to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Avoid chit-chat or small talk when possible. Sure, both are good to build rapport with the customer, but just shooting the breeze wastes time for this client and those waiting in a physical line or call queue. It’s okay to talk to your customer about their concerns and how you make them whole.

Never forget the great customer service is about putting your customers ahead of your needs. One way you do this is to respect their time. Respecting their time is

  • Quickly identifying their needs
  • Staying on task
  • Seeing things from their point of view
  • Solving their concerns the first time
  • Avoiding transferring the customer to someone else
  • Taking ownership of their concerns

When you do the above items in a timely manner, you show respect for your customer. Good service will build customer loyalty. Customer loyalty adds to your bottom line. It increases profits and you’ll never have a customer say, “I get no respect”.

Customer Care Tip – Give your customer respect by respecting their time.

Photo Source: http://www.pdclipart.org/displayimage.php?album=32&pos=41
PDClipart.org – Public Domain Clip Art, Images, Pictures, Photographs, Graphics.


Jimmie Aaron Kepler

Jimmie Aaron Kepler is a writer of speculative fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and reviews books. He’s written for Poetry & Prose Magazine, vox poetica, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Bewildering Stories, Beyond Imagination Literary Magazine, Thinking About Suicide.com, Author Culture, FrontRowLit.com, The Baseball History Podcast, Writing After Fifty, Sunday School Leadership, Church Leadership, Motivators For Sunday School Workers, The Deacon, Preschool Leadership, Sunday School Leader, and The Baptist Program. For sixteen years, he wrote a weekly newspaper column. He has written five fiction and poetry books. All are available on Amazon.com. His blog “Kepler’s Military History Book Reviews” was named a 100 Best Blogs for History Buffs and has had over 750,000 visitors.

Customer Care Tip – Give Your Customer Your Full Attention.

Customer Care Tip – Give your customer your full attention. Don’t multi-task!

MultitaskingAre you setting your employees up for failure? Is your organization unknowingly creating a climate for poor customer service? About now you’re saying to yourself I would never do that. I want my employees to succeed. I also want my customers to have the best service possible.

When dealing with the public or customer’s outside your organization, if you don’t give your customers your full attention, someone else will. Soon they will be the competition’s customers.

When dealing with the customer’s inside your organization, be they internal or remote, failure to give them your full attention will lead to unhappy customers or users. It can lead to a rift between the corporate office and the remote users. It can lead to a rift between the home office employees and customer/support service.

You’re probably thinking you don’t know me. I can do more than pay attention to the caller on the telephone support or customer service line while doing chat support with one or more customers. You may have a walk-up client while working a service request while assisting your caller and person on chat. You may be building or repairing a computer for deploying to a remote office at the same time as assisting a caller. They all require concentration.

You may be good at doing more than one thing at a time. Some people can listen while working on something else. Even if you can do two things at once, don’t multi-task.

We listen better when focusing on just one thing. The only way we can give our customer our best is by focusing on them, only them. When you multi-tasking you risk providing inferior service.

It is not okay if you’re helping a customer to do more than one thing at a time. Why not? When you’re not giving your customers your full attention, you are giving poor service. You leave them with a bad impression. You set yourself up for future failures. For example, you are helping a customer while building a new computer. You increase the odds of configuring the new machine incorrectly and thus receiving another service call.

We need to be at our best when we’re with customers. There can be no exceptions. There can be no excuses. Unfortunately, management often feels they are not getting the most from their employees if they are not multi-tasking.

Many times management unknowingly places their delegated tasks like daily metrics, license compliance, inventory management, etc. ahead of caring for their customers. Sometimes workloads are heavy.  We may feel we do not have time for customers. We don’t have time to get everything done. I completely understand. I’ve been there. Still am. Often this forces internal customers who have no option to accept the second-rate service they’re receiving. It can generate into a downward spiral when they give low marks on customer satisfaction surveys.

The good news is when your customers get your full attention good things happen. When you focus just on your customer, they will notice. The customers are happier. The complaints go down. People notice. They experience better service. They see how conscientious you are. You connect with them.

Additional benefits gained include providing a better level of service. Better customer care occurs because you understand their needs. You help them get what they want. They see the distinction between how you help them and how your competitors do.

There is a payback. Your customers will have increased loyalty. They are likely to refer business to your organization. You’ll get the reputation of caring. They will enjoy doing business with you.

Customer Care Tip – Give your customer your full attention. Don’t multi-task!

Image Credit: By Bart Everson (Flickr: Multitasking) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


Jimmie Aaron Kepler

Jimmie Aaron Kepler is a writer of speculative fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and reviews books. He’s written for Poetry & Prose Magazine, vox poetica, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Bewildering Stories, Beyond Imagination Literary Magazine, Thinking About Suicide.com, Author Culture, FrontRowLit.com, The Baseball History Podcast, Writing After Fifty, Sunday School Leadership, Church Leadership, Motivators For Sunday School Workers, The Deacon, Preschool Leadership, Sunday School Leader, and The Baptist Program. For sixteen years, he wrote a weekly newspaper column. He has written five fiction and poetry books. All are available on Amazon.com. His blog “Kepler’s Military History Book Reviews” was named a 100 Best Blogs for History Buffs and has had over 750,000 visitors.

Customer Care Tip – Thank Your Customer for Bringing the Problem to Your Attention

Customer Care Tip – Thank your customer for bringing the problem to your attention. Few people enjoy dealing with customer complaints. Human nature has us wanting to avoid painful situations. It is not pleasant to hear our product is defective or our service is substandard.

We can learn a wealth of information from our complaining customers if we approach the situation as an improvement opportunity. How can we do this? We need to view the information as positive feedback rather than a negative complaint. We must prove to the customer through our response that their sharing their problem is valued.

Do not take it personal. Do not get defensive. They are not attacking you! It is simply business. Make sure you listen to their issue. Take notes. Repeat their concerns back to them. You are verifying you heard the issue correctly.

Thank them for bring it to your attention. It is okay to apologize to the customer. Apologizing is not accepting blame. It is simply being courteous. It’s accepting responsibility to move past the current issue to a resolution

Work to resolve the issue in a timely manner. Thank your customer for bringing the issue to your attention.

Never forget that unhappy customers tell their friends about their bad experience. They do it by posting on Twitter or Facebook their bad experience.

You must let them know how much you appreciate them telling you they had an issue. I believe all they really want is a listening ear, an acceptance of the issue, and a satisfactory resolution. Many times it is as simple as saying I am sorry and correcting the deficiency.

Always tell them thank you. You say thank you even when they share problems you wish you didn’t have to handle.

Customer Care Tip – Thank your customer for bringing the problem to your attention. 


Jimmie Aaron Kepler

Jimmie Aaron Kepler’s work has appeared in six different Lifeway Christian publications as well as The Baptist Program, Thinking About Suicide.com, Poetry & Prose Magazine, vox poetica, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Bewildering Stories, Beyond Imagination Literary Magazine and more. His short stories The Cup, Invasion of the Prairie Dogs, Miracle at the Gibson Farm: A Christmas Story, and The Paintings as well as Gone Electric: A Poetry Collection are available on Amazon.com.

Customer Care Tip – Use the Customer’s Name

I am a solutions support analyst for a Fortune 500 privately held company. My expertise in technical customer service is recognized by my customers, co-workers, and employer. How is it recognized? I was named team member of the year for the enterprise for providing exception technical customer service. Three other times I was a nominee for the team member of the year. I provide what I call world-class customer service. I identify their problem’s root causes and provide solutions. I make the customer’s day better.

Customer Care Tip – Use the customer’s name.

Customers come to me for one of two reasons.

  1. They need help getting something fixed that isn’t working.
  2. They need to know how to do something (or how to avoid doing something).

They call me to get them from where they are to where they need to be. They expect me to make it happen in the shortest amount of time. They expect little disruption to their business. They do not want blamed for the current problem.

They call engaging my expertise and my access/availability to needed resources. They are investing their time and energy. They expect a good return on their investment of time. They expect to get what they called for.

I love assisting in resolving their problems. No one comes to see me or call me unless they have issues. I start by asking them how I can make their day better. I know they have a problem. I ask them tell me how I can help.

I calm distressed callers by using their name. That helps them know I am listening and that they are not just another number. Another way I cut their stress is to repeat their issue back to them. For example, “Mr. Smith I understand your sales data is not up to date. We have not updated it in 7 days. Is that correct?” If I have misunderstood I guarantee they tell me at this point.

Next I give them my name and my telephone number as the point of contact on the issue. I outline the steps I will take in troubleshooting. I give them a specific time when I will call time back with an update. I normally do that within the hour. If they call me at 8:15 AM I tell them I will call you back by 9 AM with an update on your issue. At 9 AM I call them back! The issue may not be resolved, but by then I usually know what the issue is and steps to resolution with a projected resolution day and time.

My customers like me making a promise of calling them back. I give them permission to call me if they need and update. They can call if they feel I am too slow. I also offer to update their boss if they feel that will help.

I have found assuring my customers helps build credibility. I consistently do this with every person. This really helps with the engagement and adoption of our products and services. And I never forget to tell them thank you.

Customer Care Tip – Use the customer’s name.

Jimmie Aaron Kepler

Jimmie Aaron Kepler’s work has appeared in six different Lifeway Christian publications as well as The Baptist Program, Thinking About Suicide.com, Poetry & Prose Magazine, vox poetica, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Bewildering Stories, Beyond Imagination Literary Magazine and more. His short stories The Cup, Invasion of the Prairie Dogs, Miracle at the Gibson Farm: A Christmas Story, and The Paintings as well as Gone Electric: A Poetry Collection are available on Amazon.com.