Thousands of dollars, probably millions, have been spent on books, tapes and seminars looking for the secret of customer service. I will spell it out here. The price: A few moments of time now, followed by several years of practice.
Satisfying our basic need for acronyms, I give you ACE: Attitude, Communication, Empowerment.
Attitude: A customer service representative needs to be predisposed to wanting to help. Their job is one of concierge, docent, problem solver, sounding board and an amalgamation of several other traits. This person cannot take anything personal, but must personalize the customer and care for them as a person. This is a hard balance to strike and not all of us are capable of it.
Communication: There is such a thing as too much information. There is no such thing as too much communication. Return calls, return e-mails – answer the phone when it rings. Sounds simple, because it is. Never wait to deliver bad news. Tell the customer you still don’t have the complete answer, let them know what you do know. Never avoid a chance to talk to someone.
Empowerment: The customer service representative needs to be able to institute solutions. There cannot be any hiding behind policy. Policies are guiding lights, not the path. All customers are unique. Their situations are unique. Your staff must be able to respond accordingly and quickly.
There you have it, for free. The true price lies in the implementation.