Do you know these 8 rules for good customer service?

You might have the best sales team in the country, but if you don’t have the customer service chops to back up your sales, you may not see repeat customers. The hallmarks of good customer service include the following 8 things. Master these and you’ll go a long way toward nurturing relationships with your customers so they will remain loyal.

1) Answer your phone. As much as possible, make sure a live human answers your business phone.

2) Don’t make promises unless you will keep them. Deliveries must be when you say they are going to be. Reliability is key to keeping customers.

3) Listen to your customers. Let your customers talk before you start offering suggestions.

4) Deal with complaints. Making the complaining customer happy is going to go a lot further than ignoring a complaint.

5) Be helpful – even if there’s no immediate profit in it. Solve a customer’s problem even if it doesn’t involve him or her buying something from you.

6) Train your staff (if you have any) to be always helpful, courteous, and knowledgeable. Train them to excel in customer service and do this regularly.

7) Take the extra step. Literally walk the customer to the area of the store they are seeking.  Don’t point or say, “Aisle 3”.

8) Throw in something extra.  Give the customer something unexpected, maybe even just a smile. It really can be the little things that matter.

One way to determine if your company is providing top notch customer service is by hiring the services of a mystery shopping firm such as Customer Perspective. The kind of reporting a mystery shopper can provide back to company management is invaluable in determining, from the customer’s point of view, whether your training efforts have worked and whether your employees are following through.