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Modified: Sunday, Apr 27th, 2014

Last week, I worked with a business that wanted the staff to focus more on customer service. Actually, the business wanted to increase its bottom line, and this was the plan on how to do it.

I asked the employees what the biggest customer service complaint is – not just in their business, but in any business. They guessed some obvious answers, like rudeness, defective products, being followed around the store, bad return policies, and even not counting change back. All of these are good answers, but not the biggest customer service problem.

To demonstrate what was, I told them about going into a dress shop, cruising around every aisle and browsing the sale racks in the back of the store. Then, finding nothing interesting, I headed back to the front door to exit. At which time I heard, “Can I help you?”

Indifference is the service complaint most customers have. I didn’t feel noticed or acknowledged, let alone served. It was too late to ask to help me when I was walking out the door.

To give good customer service, don’t be indifferent to your customers. It’s easy:

• Acknowledge people as soon as possible. Keep your eye on the front door so you can greet people as they come in.

• Be careful of the tendency to give better service to those who look better; you can’t always tell.

• Ask if they’d like help, or just like to browse. Don’t assume you know, because you don’t.

• Compliment their selection, confirm your guarantees, and count back that change.

• And, finally, thank them for coming in as they leave.

You are already an expert on customer service because of your years of experience being a purchaser. Don’t be indifferent to the people who have the potential of increasing your income, and you will increase that bottom line.

Chris Waugh is a business consultant who focuses on management and professional development. Visit ChrisWaugh.com or Facebook.com/ChrisWaughOnTheFly for more information.

For the complete article see the 04-23-2014 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 04-23-2014 paper.

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