Customer Service 101

Canadian stats from the American Express 2012 Global Customer Service Barometer indicate the following:

  • 32% of respondents believe companies are paying less attention to customer service
  • Customer expectations were met 60% of the time, but missed the mark 32% of the time
  • Only 17% of respondents believed that companies truly valued their business and went the extra mile for them
  • 75% of respondents indicated they spend more with companies when there is a history of good customer service. When asked why, 38% said that companies that provided great service had earned their business.

The report also went on to show that some people are not willing to pay more for excellent service.  They expect it no matter where they go and when they don’t get it, they are disappointed.

Regardless of whether a customer will pay more for excellent service, good service improves the chances of a return business and referrals.  So just what do customers want from us?  It’s really not that complicated.  Following is a short list of five things customer expect.


Answer the phone promptly.  Greet the customers when they walk in the door. Smile, say good morning, good afternoon and offer your assistance.  If they are regulars and you know their name, use it.


Your customer isn’t the expert on your business; you are.  They expect that you and your team will be knowledgeable about the products and services you offer. Tourism and hospitality professionals also need to know about the products and services offered in their area.  How long will it take to get to the airport during rush hour traffic?  Where can I find a vegetarian restaurant? What time does the zoo open?  Where can I pick up a tie to replace the spaghetti stained one?  Can I get dry-cleaning?

If you don’t know the answer, know where to find the answer. That doesn’t mean letting the customer know where to find the answer. It means you taking the time to get the answer for the customer.


Customers are not an intrusion on your time. They are the reason we have a job to come to. No rolling eyes, no heavy sighs, no “wait until I’m finished”.

Trained Staff

Your team needs to know their jobs; they need to be able to execute the tasks on a timely basis, to standard. Your customers don’t want to wait because you put someone on the floor before they were ready.  That also means ensuring you have enough people on the floor. And if you do get slammed, lucky you. Now get out of the office and help your team!


Your customers want what they want each and every time they come to your business. That’s why they are coming to you.  If you only deliver some of the time, it becomes a guessing game.  The loyal customer will forgive a lapse or two, but only for so long.  If you become consistently inconsistent, your customers will find somewhere else to go.

What else do customers want? What do you expect from the companies you do business with?


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