Here’s what real customers say about customer service.

Every company is (or should be) concerned about how they serve their customers. But many company leaders and managers have no idea what their customers want from them. They don’t know what customer consider good or bad) customer service. And it can be hard to really, truly know what your customers want.

Until now.

Below are results of my many conversations with people about customer service. The first is a list of the most common things people tell me create good customer service. The second list contains those things employees do that create bad customer service. (The items listed re in no specific order.)

As you read these lists, think about your organization. Do your employees do these things? If so, how often?

What is great customer service? It happens when employees:

  • Smile
  • Are real people, not automated systems
  • Treat customers like people
  • Respect customer’s time
  • Are reliable
  • Remain accountable
  • Listen
  • Do not offer excuses
  • Move forward with a solution
  • Take responsibility for their actions
  • Are able to answer all customer’s questions
  • Are always friendly
  • Offer a consistent and friendly greeting
  • Strive for accuracy
  • Show genuine concern for making customer happy
  • Bring fast resolution of problems
  • Seek to customize your dining experience
  • Do what they say they will
  • Have empathy
  • Are flexible
  • Are always courteous
  • Follow-up consistently
  • Take notes
  • Deliver on their promises
  • Say “thank you”
  • Use prompt and clear communication

What is lousy customer service? It happens when employees:

  • Don’t answer the phone promptly (or ever)
  • Can only help you via email (no phone contact)
  • Act like customers are a burden
  • Treat people like numbers, not people
  • Waste your time
  • Act like they (or their companies) never make mistakes
  • Ignore customers
  • Argue with customers
  • Lack knowledge about company’s products or services
  • Don’t know how to deal with a variety of customers and situations
  • Are poorly trained
  • Leave the customer before they are completely serviced
  • Let their stress or personal problems interfere with helping customers
  • Don’t recognize how long you’ve been a customer
  • Don’t use past purchases or preference as they help customers
  • Obviously do not care
  • Sound like or act like robots
  • Put customer on hold for a long time
  • Transfer customers too many times
  • Fail to do what they say they will
  • Are inflexible
  • Don’t have authority to resolve problems
  • Do not listen
  • Take too long responding or calling back
  • Are rude
  • Do not use common sense when helping customers
  • Are not willing to correct bad service
  • Offer better deals to new customers than existing customers
  • Seem bored or indifferent about their jobs
  • Are too slow

If you showed these lists to your customers, what would they think? Which of these lists would they most likely associate with your employees?
Use these as a guide to developing your own Amazing Service standards and as a coaching guide for your staff.