Blast from the past: Seven traits to quality customer service

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Updated Sep 14, 2015

This article was originally published in September 2014 at the CVSN Aftermarket Distribution Summit. This year’s Summit will begin Monday, and will be covered live by Truck Parts & Service.

There’s no secret to mastering customer service, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy for everyone.

Mediocre and poor customer service can be a death knell for retail businesses, says “The Telephone Doctor” Nancy Friedman.

Speaking Monday at the Commercial Vehicle Solutions Network (CVSN) Aftermarket Distribution Summit, Friedman warned her aftermarket audience of the risks associated with poor customer service and the advantages that come with being positive.

Focusing specifically on seven personal traits, Friedman says good customer service can be honed into people willing to accept them.

With a good attitude, there is no aspect of customer service that can’t be achieved.

“It’s a choice you have when you wake up in the morning that you can have a great day or a terrible day,” she says.

Friedman defines her seven traits to successful customer service as follows:

  • Choose your attitude: Like mentioned above, Friedman says coming to work with a good attitude is the foundation to customer service success. A person with a good attitude is less likely to be phased by customer complaints and will bounce back faster from bad moods when they strike.
  • Visualize success: Changing your customer service approach doesn’t happen on a whim. If you want to build a top-flight customer service approach, Friedman says you have to plan. You have to create positive best practices for your team and instill confidence in your plan.
  • Energy, humor and enthusiasm: Nobody likes a downer. People who are excited and energetic, whether on the phone or at your counter, are more likely to deliver your customers are quality experience, Friedman says. Extroverted people are great at this, she adds.
  • Be determined: Be a double checker. If a customer calls looking for one specific part, you want your customer service people to be willing to go back in the back and check for it. Friedman says customers are always going to ask, your team has to be ready and willing to respond.
  • Resist negative tendencies: This is a big one, Friedman says. There are certain words and phrases that have no business in customer service. “No,” “I don’t know,” “I can’t,” “Hold please” are just a few examples. Sometimes it’s just a matter of turning a phrase, Friedman says. “Instead of hold please, try ‘if you are available to hold.’”
  • Accept change: Customer needs change. Your service must change with them. Friedman says this is where a positive attitude is valuable. People in a good mood are more receptive to change and can seamlessly adjust to new customer service practices.
  • Be grateful: Be gracious to your customers. They are your business. They make your operation tick. Friedman says they should be treated politely and with respect. Management should treat its front-line customer service people the same way.
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