Expert Panel

Focus on these things to succeed in Customer Service

Customer Service Essentials


No matter what position you hold in your organization, customer service should be part of your job.  We encourage you to read through these success tips for customer service and ask yourself what you can do to help support and improve the relationship your customers have with your company.


Understand your products.
If you are in Customer Service, you are first person a customer talks to, so you need to be able to answer the majority of their questions, not just pass the question on to someone else in your company.  Ask for product training.  If there is no formal or extensive training program, align yourself with a sales person to get a more in depth knowledge of your company’s products.  It will make your customers happy and you will have more confidence in your job.  Take the time to create your own product-training manual, have others look at it and add / make modifications.

Remain customer focused.
Have you ever experienced a customer service person that seems annoyed that you are asking them a question?  This is not customer focused!  Imagine yourself as the customer, how would you want to be treated?  Listen to them, keep a smile on your face and project your interest in helping them find solutions.  Try putting a mirror on your desk and check out the expression you are giving to your customer.

Proactively manage personalities.
Learning to manage different personalities both internally and externally can be difficult. One way is to take a deep breath and an open mind into every dialog you have. Another is to proactively train yourself on different personality types. Document the interactions you have with difficult people and define how you could have handled yourself better. What would you do the next time you encounter someone like that? If you study personality types and your responses to them, you will be able to proactively manage the situation better and provide better service the next time you encounter a similar situation. Remember to keep ego out of it. Being humble and resourceful is a better approach.
Check out our article Dealing with difficult personalities at work.

Maintain quality control and attention to detail.
Mistakes happen but it is your job to minimize the potential for those mistakes by providing and receiving ongoing training on the systems and processes used in your job. You should consider implementing a documented quality control system such as an ISO system that accounts for standardized practices for customer service, as well as how to handle quality complaints and customer disputes. By putting a system like this in place you are not only self-auditing and training to make improvements, but you are standardizing the service level to ensure the entire team is held to the same standards and practices. This attention to detail will raise the overall reputation of service for your organization.

Know the strengths and weaknesses of your team.
Nobody is great at everything, but some of us are definitely better than others at some things. If you are managing a customer service group, it is important to know what each person is great at doing. Don’t be afraid to rearrange workload to take advantage of these strengths, pay premiums for them and use them as a model to train others. Some examples are expediting, international customers, returns, quality concerns, and key accounts. In some cases you can funnel these items through key people, in others, you can have them oversee the group activity and focus on universal improvements; stepping in to assist when necessary.

Track your results.
Often the customer service group is taken for granted by other areas of the organization.  As a result the responsiveness of the organization to customer service/customer issues is not as timely as required.  By tracking your results and establishing a group of result metrics, you have an opportunity to target problem areas, amplify the customer’s needs and engage your entire organization in service level accountability.
Some examples of metrics include:

  • number of orders vs. number of returns
  • dollar value of returns vs. sales dollars by month,
  • response time from operations on quality complaints
  • reason for complaint broken out by category such as late delivery, quality problem, wrong product shipped, out of stock product, data entry error.

First track results, next share them, and finally, facilitate improvement plans.




Written by Lisa WoodsPresident ManagingAmericans.com

Lisa is a successful entrepreneur, world-class marketing strategist, and dynamic business leader with more than 20 years experience leading, managing and driving growth. Throughout her career, Lisa has been influential in integration techniques, organizational and cultural overhauls, financial turnarounds and developing employees into exceptional leaders, results driven managers and passionate team contributors.


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What department in your company has more paralyzing process constraints?