It seems cliché that the customer is always right but having that mentality will lead to success. No matter what your job is you have a customer or likely many customers and they can be internal, external, or both. When you have the opportunity to engage with your customer take this opportunity to treat the customer first.

Many information workers of the past may not have thought about the customer and really society in general used to have a more take-it-or-leave-it attitude. However, today’s information workers need to have strong customer focus in order to achieve success and you need to be able to:

  1. Empathize with your customer: Understanding your customer and empathizing with their situation is the first step in providing high customer service. Your boss as a customer has the pressure of a big meeting coming up and understanding that providing her not just the slides she asked for but also giving her some talking points and supporting research will make her job easier and help reduce stress. Putting yourself in the shoes of the customer will help you provide better customer service. How many times do we get an Excel doc with bad formatting or are using a website where there is little help and it is confusing and we say if only we were in charge of this or that. Well we are all in charge of what we do and while we may not be able to dictate processes and procedures most of us have influence and using that influence to think from our customer’s point of view and problems they are solving is the difference between an average employee and a rock star employee.
  2. Get satisfaction from your customer’s satisfaction: No matter your role if you ensure your customer is happy then you will be more successful. The thing to remember is your customer can be nearly anyone. Sometimes it might be auditors and the natural tendency is to view them as an adversary but that is not the best approach. Instead how can you help serve your customer the auditor better – maybe that means coming up with an improved report that provides more clarity that would benefit your auditor or instead of just satisfying the allotted response time you can provide quicker turnaround on requests. The key to remember is the more you get satisfaction from having a happy customer the more you will be motivated to provide good customer service.
  3. Leave your ego at home: There are situations where you will try to provide good customer service but you may fall short or you may not and your customer may have unrealistic expectations. However, leave your ego at home and instead appreciate your customer and apologize even. This does not mean you need to admit fault if there is no fault but you can still feel bad if your customer feels bad and it does not hurt to say something like “I am sorry for your frustration”. Taking this extra step and ensuring that your customer understands your empathy and that you do not always have to be right is required for truly exceptional customer service.

Apply these three key steps when either directly or indirectly interacting with customers and you will not only make your customer feel better but your boss will feel better and you will feel better.

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