Author Topic: Customer service etiquette  (Read 49119 times)

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marcel

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Re: Customer service etiquette
« Reply #15 on: March 10, 2009, 10:05:06 AM »
* While serving a customer, finish the transaction before answering the phone.  Once you do answer, if the call is not business related (or a personal emergency) and you have customers waiting, tell the caller you will call them back when you next have a break.

I'd say excuse me, answer the phone and immediately ask the customer to hold if I'm the only one available to answer it.
This is the appropriate way, because if you wait to long, the person on teh phone will hang up.

For the CSR

*Please tell the customer what you *can* do for them, and what their options are at the given moment.  Do *not* tell them what they cant do, and then fall silent.  This does not resolve anything, and only puts a stop to the interaction.  Your job is to resolve the situation to their satisfaction, according to your policies.  This means that you should offer them options based on the current situation.

Ginlyn covered mine for the customer, so I wont repeat them, but the above is a serious pet peeve of mine.  I cant tell you how many times I've had to say "Ok, what *can* we do in this situation then?" and it's like seriously? why am *I* asking this question??? 
[/soap box] 


I agree in general, however some customers (not you, of course) ask the impossible.
Example:
I want you to credit my account $200 because I had to stand in line for 10 minutes and that's what my time is worth.  That's just not going to happen and there really isn't anything I CAN do.

Sure there is!  So, in that situation, the appropriate response of the CSR is "I'm sorry sir/m'am that you had to wait.  What I can do is set you up to speak with a manager/give you a form to file a complaint, if you'd like."


I don't agree here, When I worked in a store I was not going to enable a SS to bother my manager, and my manager appreciated it if we could handle situations like this ourselves. It is very simple, if there is nothing I can do, there is nothing I can do, why should I call a manager to tell you the same thing?

Also if what you CAN do does not work for the customer and he keeps asking for something you can't do, then that is where it ends.


Back to the OP's no. 4, the one with the most discussion.
I worked in a DIY store and I would have people buy things that would not work in their situation. If this happened I tried to convince them to buy another product, even if they didn't want to. This way I would be covered if they came back to complain that the product they bought didn't work. And some people would believe what I told them and buy the right product.
Wherever you go..... There you are.

ShadesOfGrey

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Re: Customer service etiquette
« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2009, 10:14:31 AM »
I don't agree here, When I worked in a store I was not going to enable a SS to bother my manager, and my manager appreciated it if we could handle situations like this ourselves. It is very simple, if there is nothing I can do, there is nothing I can do, why should I call a manager to tell you the same thing?

Also if what you CAN do does not work for the customer and he keeps asking for something you can't do, then that is where it ends.

On the first issue - your missing my point. I'm sure you have some sort of avenue for customer complaints, I'm suggesting you send them there.  Be proactive about their dissatisfaction, even if it's unreasonably felt. 

On the second, I never said you should acquiese to their demands. You can of course tell them "no" to things you cant do ("I'm sorry sir, we dont offer discounts for extended time in line.  But we can take care of you right now/set you up with our speedpass account so things will go faster in the future/show you how to use our online site to answer your questions/give you the number to our corporate office." etc.) But the conversation shouldnt end there on your part, you should keep offering them the alternatives that you *can* do.  It's about framing the conversation and being proactive about actually resolving something. 
Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning. - Maya Angelou

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. - Maya Angelou

Hawkwatcher

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Re: Customer service etiquette
« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2009, 10:18:26 AM »
CSR

If a customer asks you where a product is, do not say it is aisle _____, the same place it has always been.  The customer may be new customer who has never stepped foot in your store.

If you job is to sell expensive items such as cars, please try to learn as much as possible about your product.  If you are unable to answer the customers' questions, find someone who can answer these questions.

Do not lie or intentionally mislead your customers.  If you cannot provide a certain item or service, tell your customer the truth.

Do not lecture your customers on etiquette or grammar.

[/u]customers[/u]  

1. Realize that your waitperson, cashier, and clerk are a captive audience.  Please do not engage them in conversations dealing with sensitive subjects such as politics or religion.  While you may enjoy talking about these topics, the person helping you cannot participate fully.  The person in question may also have different views.

2.  If you eat out at a restaurant and the service is acceptable, use cash to tip the waiter or waitress.  Religious tracts and other similar items are not acceptable.



matf

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Re: Customer service etiquette
« Reply #18 on: March 10, 2009, 10:32:10 AM »
*sigh* Stupid computer ate my post.

For customer:
* The customer service person did not make the policies of the establishment, and yelling at them will not enable them to change them. Ask nicely, and they may be able to offer you something else, or at least tell you how to complain about that policy to the management.

* Remember that you can bring either compliments or complaints to the manager. Managers love hearing compliments!

camlan

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Re: Customer service etiquette
« Reply #19 on: March 10, 2009, 11:18:05 AM »
CSR:

Treat every client/customer/patron as if they were the CEO of your company. Don't discriminate based on age, gender, dress, appearance or speech. You can't really tell who you are dealing with based on externals.

If you are alone, busy with one customer or a task you can't stop in the middle of, and a customer approaches the desk, acknowledge that new customer's presence with a glance their way and a quick, "I'll be with you in a moment/I'll be with you as soon I have finished with this customer." People are usually much better about waiting if they feel their presence has been recognized and they know they aren't being ignored.

When the customer has a problem, always offer some sort of way to rectify it. It might not be exactly what the customer wants, but give them *something*, even if only a form to fill out a complaint. It is incredibly frustrating to deal with a CSR who keeps saying, "Nope, can't do that," without offering any possible way to fix things. IMO, it's this feeling of being stonewalled that causes people to get upset, moreso than the actual problem itself. A sense that the CSR is trying to help, even if they can't, goes a long way.

If you are allowed personal calls when things are slow, end them when a customer approaches. Don't turn your back and leave the customer waiting while you chat. Same with conversations with co-workers. You should put the conversation on hold while you deal with the customer, not ring the customer up with your head over your shoulder talking to someone else.

Bear in mind that any customer could be new to your store or service. You may be very familiar with the store, the company, the policies, but the person standing in front of you/on the phone may have no clue. Don't assume that the customer knows the jargon of your trade/company. Ask them if they understand what the next step is/where to go, etc.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, Im possible! Audrey Hepburn


ShadesOfGrey

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Re: Customer service etiquette
« Reply #20 on: March 10, 2009, 12:12:44 PM »
When the customer has a problem, always offer some sort of way to rectify it. It might not be exactly what the customer wants, but give them *something*, even if only a form to fill out a complaint. It is incredibly frustrating to deal with a CSR who keeps saying, "Nope, can't do that," without offering any possible way to fix things. IMO, it's this feeling of being stonewalled that causes people to get upset, moreso than the actual problem itself. A sense that the CSR is trying to help, even if they can't, goes a long way.

yes yes yes! This is *exactly* what I was trying to say. 
Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning. - Maya Angelou

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. - Maya Angelou

MrsJWine

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Re: Customer service etiquette
« Reply #21 on: March 10, 2009, 12:46:08 PM »
If you make a request of a worker, and store or company policy prevents her from accommodating you, don't take it out on her.  She has NO control over such things.

In case that's not clearly stated, I'll give you an example:  I used to work in an all-you-can-eat buffet.  Takeout was not allowed AT ALL (except if someone had a cookie or ice cream cone on the way out).  If I did allow people to take food out, I could be fired on the spot.  But customers would press me to "just look the other way".  If they'd really wanted the rule to change, they could either take it up with a manager (who could "just look the other way" if he saw fit) or complain to corporate.  Ranting at an expendable waitress is not the way to do it.

1. Realize that your waitperson, cashier, and clerk are a captive audience.  Please do not engage them in conversations dealing with sensitive subjects such as politics or religion.  While you may enjoy talking about these topics, the person helping you cannot participate fully.  The person in question may also have different views.

Amen!  When I waited tables, I hated talking politics/religion even when I agreed with the people.  Other customers and coworkers can overhear, and it puts the employee in a very uncomfortable position.  Going on at length about any subject is probably not a good idea, either, unless you know for a fact that the employee has little work to do.  Just because she has a smile plastered on her face doesn't mean she isn't breaking into a cold sweat on the inside or trying not to glance around at the growing crowd of impatient customers behind you.

Quote
2.  If you eat out at a restaurant and the service is acceptable, use cash to tip the waiter or waitress.  Religious tracts and other similar items are not acceptable.

Or, if you must leave a tract, make sure it's not the only tip you leave.  Leaving a tract and no tip or a lousy tip speaks volumes about your religion, and it's not the kind of message you're trying to send.  I honestly never minded getting tracts, even if they were completely in opposition to my own religion; what I minded was getting a tract and no tip or lousy treatment.


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ginlyn32

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Re: Customer service etiquette
« Reply #22 on: March 10, 2009, 01:20:42 PM »
For Customers:

*Please obey the Hours of Operation of the business. Do not walk into a sit-down restuarant 10 minutes until closing. Also do not show up at a business before opening and demand to be let in. At most businesses, once the computer is shut down for the day, it cannot be started up again until the day before.

*Do not complain about policies, hours, prices or items sold to the Sales Associate or cashier/CSR. They are not in charge of the prices or policies. If you have a problem with the way the business is run, write a letter to the president of the company or CEO.

*You know that saying that the "customer is always right?" well, it's NOT true! Sometimes you are wrong. Do not ask the CSR to break the law or store policy for you. (i.e. selling alcohol to minors/on Sunday, not checking for I.D.)

For CSR's:

*Please return phone calls to disgruntled customers in a timely fashion. It puts a bad taste in a customer's mouth to have to constantly get the run-around from a business. You can bet our word-of-mouth reports go far and wide.
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snowball's chance

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Re: Customer service etiquette
« Reply #23 on: March 10, 2009, 02:20:05 PM »
For customers/patrons/visitors/clients:

The young, attractive server, cashier, receptionist/front desk clerk, store clerk, bartender, or host(ess) is not being nice and friendly because s/he has a thing for you.  Well, s/he might have a thing for you, but it's part of her or his job.  Please don't take basic, friendly customer service as an invitation to flirt, b/c a lot of times s/he has to sit there and take it.  S/he doesn't want to reveal her or his relationship status, what kind of person they find attractive, what time he or she gets off work, or what he or she is "doing later".

snowball's chance

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Re: Customer service etiquette
« Reply #24 on: March 10, 2009, 02:25:50 PM »
CSR Managers (well, any manager, really):

Don't undermine your employees, especially in front of them.  If you have drilled a policy into your employees' heads as an Edict That Must Be Obeyed, and a customer doesn't like it, don't break your own rule by giving into the Special Snowflake if the SS whines enough.  And if you do break the rule, own it & tell the SS you are breaking your own rule, so the SS doesn't think your employee was giving him or her the runaround. If you do this, 1.) You reinforce entitled behavior, 2.) You make your employee look bad to someone outside the organization and 3.) You lose your employee's trust.

snowball's chance

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Re: Customer service etiquette
« Reply #25 on: March 10, 2009, 03:02:12 PM »
When you tell me that you are old enough to drink, I believe you. I'm not calling you a liar, but unless you can prove it to me you have to leave.

& by prove, that means with your valid picture ID.  Your mom, brother, girlfriend or the other bartender who went to school with you and is off tonight can't vouch for you.

snowball's chance

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Re: Customer service etiquette
« Reply #26 on: March 10, 2009, 03:11:41 PM »
When you tell me that you are old enough to drink, I believe you. I'm not calling you a liar, but unless you can prove it to me you have to leave.

& by prove, that means with your valid picture ID.  Your mom, brother, girlfriend or the other bartender who went to school with you and is off tonight can't vouch for you.

Yes, thank you snowball's chance. I should have put that in there.

No worries!  I was a gas station cashier 11 years ago (sold beer & cigarettes), so I remember the excuses well! 

FoxPaws

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Re: Customer service etiquette
« Reply #27 on: March 10, 2009, 03:23:26 PM »
Customers:
- Please don't tell me that Jane on the other shift never charges you for X, or Bob said you could get Y while you waited after I've told you otherwise. If you have "special arrangements" with another employee, please come when they're here and deal directly with them. Not only will I not help you, but I will be compelled to report them. Remember, they can't do you any favors if they're no longer employed here.

- When calling or making inquiries, get the name of the person you're speaking to - we'll usually volunteer it when we answer the phone, but please verify it for your records if you plan to call/come back. When you tell us, "I talked to some girl yesterday," we assume you're just making stuff up. Also, "the black guy" describes at least five people here. Seriously, get a name.
I am so a lady. And if you say I'm not, I'll slug you. - Cindy Brady

Germane Jackson

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Re: Customer service etiquette
« Reply #28 on: March 10, 2009, 03:37:26 PM »
Customers--

I know you might think that we're hoarding all of the sale items 'in the back', but I assure you, if they are in stock, they will be on the shelves.

StaciNadia

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Re: Customer service etiquette
« Reply #29 on: March 13, 2009, 03:27:32 PM »
Customers:

You know how when you go up to the registers, you get in a line?  It works the same way in the fitting room.  If you're coming out of the fitting room, and I'm helping a line of people trying to get in the fitting room, or there are people who left the fitting room before you I'm helping, please wait your turn.  Fitting room attendants are only one person, and we are required to count your items before you go in and when you leave.

ETA:
Customer service folks:
As an addendum to what KeenReader said in the first post, it is okay to be called "Lady" if you are dealing with people whose first language is not English.  I get called "Lady" a lot, but I know a lot of people in my area are from Spanish-speaking nations, and I guess they thought "Lady" was the best approximation for "Senora" (how do you make the n with the tilde?)
« Last Edit: March 13, 2009, 03:34:27 PM by StaciNadia »