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We suck at Customer Service and here is how to improve!

Jordan has great assets in terms of tourism. You name it (History & Culture Tourism, Eco & Nature Tourism, Religion & Faith Tourism, Leisure & wellness Tourism, and Fun & Adventure Tourism) we have it all.

What we lack is the right service! we are known for our Jordanian frown. We don’t usually smile although we mean good. We don’t beat around the bush, we give it to you straight. We need to learn the etiquettes of customer service.

Some people claim it is a culture handicap, some say it’s bad management. I on the other hand not into stereotyping business and believe with a little bit of education we can all learn something new.

Customer service is vital for any business today. Excellent customer service is the key to gaining new customers and customer retention. After all, for every happy client you have, he or she will tell three people; but, an unhappy customer will complain to 10.

You can offer promotions and discounts to bring in as many new customers as you want, but unless you can get your customers to come back, you are wasting resources. Good customer service is all about creating a happy experience for your customers. Happy enough to send out positive feedback about your business.

It is not good enough to sell a product or a service, you need to create a relationship to guarantee that the customer will keep coming back, not to mention referring new customers to your business. How do you go about forming such a relationship? By remembering the one true secret of good customer service and acting accordingly; “You will be judged by what you do, not what you say.” If you truly want to have good customer service, all you have to do is ensure that your business consistently does these things:

1- Be reachable, visible, and available:
I used to wait on tables back in the days, the first rule is to greet the customer once they are seated in 40 seconds or less: “Hello, my name is Khaled Welcome to (Hotel California), I will be with you shortly” . You have to acknowledge your clients with a smile, a simple hello, or a short greetings. Another thing for business owner, is to be available whenever the customer is asking to meet with them.

Allow your customer to vent out and let them speak their mind uninterrupted. Wait till they say all there is to say. Pay attention to every little detail, show them that you are listening by making the appropriate responses.

3-Don’t promise unless you WILL deliver:
Reliability is one of the keys to any good relationship, and good customer service is no exception. Think before you give any promise, because nothing annoys customers more than a broken one. Give yourself an extra time to allow for surprises.

4-Deal with complaints emotionLESS:
“You can’t please all the people all the time”. Maybe not, but if you give the complaint your attention, you may be able to please this one person this one time – and position your business to reap the benefits of good customer service.

5-Help even if there is no *CASHING* sound to it:
The other day I needed to buy a mobile charge, while dropping off the taxi I did not have the right change, so I went around the nearby stores (which all happen to be mobile stores) and asked for change. The first two stores claim they don’t have change for a 5JD while the 3rd store gave me the change with a smile. After paying my Taxi who do you think I would go buy the charger from?

6-Empower your staff to be (helpful, courteous, and knowledgeable):
I think that is one of the major issues here in Jordan, we need educated our front office staff and provide them with the right tools to make a decision to solve issues with our customers, or even empower them to cross sell our products & services. Talk to them about good customer service and what it is (and isn’t) regularly. Most importantly, give every member of your staff enough information and power to make those small customer-pleasing decisions.

7-Take that extra step:
Make it easier for your customer. Don’t just answer their question, offer any extra information and suggest better options. We are not robots, customer sometimes come for the interaction and the atmosphere. If a customer asked: “where is a good place to eat around here?” engage in a conversation, ask him what type of food is he looking for, offer options and propose your favorite.

8-Always throw in something on the House:
Make them feel they had a “winner” experience. A happy customer is as happy as the experience is, no matter how much money he paid. Whether it’s a coupon for a future discount, additional information on how to use the product, or a genuine smile, people love to get more than they thought they were getting. And don’t think that a gesture has to be large to be effective.

If businesses in Jordan would follow these simple rules consistently, businesses will flourish (Scout’s honor).

Here are few tips answering negative comments online:

1.Read, take a deep breath, and only answer when your emotions don’t affect the message.

2.Acknowledge up-front that the customer has a point, a simple sorry will do.

3.Provide details that let the customer know you read their review, automated or canned responses to negative reviews are worse than no response at all.

4.Provide details on how you are improving or changing because of their review and what they could expect in the future.

5.Invite them back to your business or to try your services again in the future as you will continue to improve with great feedback.

6.Thank them for their feedback.

7.Provide your full name along with contact information at the bottom of the message to make yourself available.


For etiquettes on answering the phone:

1) Answer all incoming phone calls before the third ring.
2) When you answer the phone, be warm and enthusiastic. Your voice at the end of the telephone line is sometimes the only impression of your company a caller will get.
3) When answering the phone, welcome callers courteously and identify yourself and your organization. Say, for instance, “Good morning. Cypress Technologies. Susan speaking. How may I help you?” No one should ever have to ask if they’ve reached such and such a business.
4) Enunciate clearly, keep your voice volume moderate, and speak slowly and clearly when answering the phone, so your caller can understand you easily.
5) Control your language when answering the phone. Don’t use slang or jargon. Instead of saying, “OK”, or “No problem”, for instance, say “Certainly”, “Very well”, or “All right”. If you’re a person who uses fillers when you speak, such as “uh huh”, “um”, or phrases such as “like” or “you know”, train yourself carefully not to use these when you speak on the phone.
6) Train your voice and vocabulary to be positive when phone answering, even on a “down” day. For example, rather than saying, “I don’t know”, say, “Let me find out about that for you.”
7) Take telephone messages completely and accurately. If there’s something you don’t understand or can’t spell, such as a person’s surname, ask the caller to repeat it or spell it for you. Then make sure the message gets to the intended recipient.
8) Answer all your calls within one business day. I can’t emphasize this one enough. Remember the early bird? The early caller can get the contract, the sale, the problem solved… and reinforce the favorable impression of your business that you want to circulate.
9) Always ask the caller if it’s all right to put her on hold when answering the phone, and don’t leave people on hold. Provide callers on hold with progress reports every 30 to 45 seconds. Offer them choices if possible, such as “That line is still busy. Will you continue to hold or should I have ________ call you back?”
10) Don’t use a speaker phone unless absolutely necessary. Speaker phones give the caller the impression that you’re not fully concentrating on his call, and make him think that his call isn’t private. The only time to use a speaker phone is when you need more than one person to be in on the conversation at your end.
11) If you use an answering machine to answer calls when you can’t, make sure that you have a professional message recorded, that does the same thing as tip # 3, and gives callers any other pertinent information before it records their messages. Update your answering machine message as needed. For instance, if your business is going to be closed for a holiday, update your recorded answering machine message to say so and to say when your business will reopen.
12) Train everyone else who answers the phone to answer the same way, including other family members if you’re running a home-based business. Check on how your business’s phone is being answered by calling in and seeing if the phone is being answered in a professional manner. If they don’t pass the test, go over this telephone answering tips list with them.

7 Responses

  1. I totally second every word you said. But I must give this a fair comment and say that I have noticed that customer service at some places has improved dramatically, which is of course promising and gives you the impression that there is a potential good change coming on the way. On the other hand, I still suffer from poor and unprofessional customer service provided by some companies or service providers. A customer service officer would manifest his anger, frustration and maybe some personal conflicts into unbearable vibes of interaction. This is exactly why employers should think thoroughly before hiring their CS staff, because they are the ones to leave the first impression, so you either deal with this place again or you don’t.
    Hope the solutions you mentioned above will be taken into consideration, applying them would reinforce this country’s glamour and what it has to offer.

  2. Customer service or daily interaction with random people, what you’re saying goes for both.
    I find what you say applies very well to our everyday life and personal interaction, it’s all about being nice; taking time to actually listen to the other person and help him/her with a smile.
    On another note, this post is of high importance to be a must read terms in all companies, even to be given in workshops and employee training sessions.
    Maybe you can start a training organization to educate and empower employees in different companies, even employers, about those essential soft skills 🙂 and here you have a company:
    “Shusmo Training and Consulting Services”

  3. Thank you Hanin & Zouz for your comments.

    I think in terms of tourism, Jordan has allot to offer but we don’t market ourselves right. Customer Service can be polished to match our Jordanian Hospitality.

  4. […] المحال سوف أختار لشراء شاحن لهاتفي الجوال؟ ” يتسائل خالد و هو مدرك للجواب بعد أن قام أخيرا أحد أصحاب محلات […]

  5. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by Shusmo: New Blog post: We suck at Customer Service and here is how to improve! http://cot.ag/9vRJNF @fadig…

  6. Maybe you should start a consultant firm that contracts out with the government agencies for HR and customer services training? Annual and ongoing training can positively improve the experience of the all citizen and tourists.

    I think you already have the blueprint for it, all you need is build on it a complete manual!

    and btw, shameful shameful plug-in.

  7. Okay, I don’t know how to do that trackback thing, but I gave you a shout out on my blog post about customer service. Your list above helped illustrate my point perfectly.

    One suggesiton I have for talking on the phone is just before you pick up the phone SMILE. Your smile comes through to the customer on the other end of the line…

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