The Lost Art of Customer Service: How We’re Bringing it Back
Do you experience frustration with terrible service when you shop, eat out, check in to a hotel, attend an event, or travel? At every turn, I seem to notice a lack of customer service—and I’m sad to say, top-notch service has become a dying art.
This is a topic that I hold very near and dear to my heart. When I started in business, I worked for Marriott International, a company that prides itself on “above and beyond service.” Providing excellent service is something that was ingrained in me at the start of my career and I now yearn to see it in every business.
So, since we must be the change we want to see in the world, I made sure that above-and-beyond service was infused in every aspect of my business. What I’ve learned over the years can help other business owners offer the same level of customer service for their businesses, too.
Integrate the following customer-service tips into your business, and watch as they delight your customers.
Hire employees that share your values
My team is made up of employees who share my belief that providing excellent service is top priority. Everyone at TaylorMade Experience (TME) is on the same page and will do what it takes to ensure the customer is taken care of.
“I don’t know” is never a final answer
Recently, one of our employees went to take a class at the gym. The class was scheduled for 4:00 p.m., but when she got there, the room was empty. When she asked a gym staff member where the instructor was, his response was: “I don’t know, I just work here.”
His answer made our employee feel stupid for asking and resulted in her never going back to that class.
When your customer asks a question, the only time that “I don’t know” is ever acceptable, is when it’s followed by, “But I’ll look into it and get right back to you.”
You don’t need to know everything, but you do need to assure the customer that their question is valid and that you’re doing everything you can to meet their needs.
Treat VIPs with platinum-level service
While we strive to make all of our customers happy, we provide the highest level of customer service to VIPs. These VIPs could be repeat, dedicated customers, high-profile people or celebrities that draw a crowd, or donors you’re looking to build a better relationship with.
For us, the service we offer VIPs includes remembering someone’s name, or memorizing a face. We make sure our team knows every single detail of an event and who will play what part. When any team member is approached by a VIP, they are polite and helpful, greet them by name, and will go out of their way to attend to the VIP’s needs or requests.
Always say thank you
It’s a simple gesture, and one that you’d think was a no-brainer, but it’s shocking how often it goes unsaid. By saying thank you, you’re letting customers know you’re grateful—whether it’s for their business, time, attention, or company. This alone will help your customer service stand out from the crowd, especially if it’s sincere.
Make sure your thank-yous are not only delivered verbally or immediately by email, but that they are also backed up with a handwritten thank-you note and gift (if appropriate). This is also a non-negotiable within TME—we send handwritten thank-you notes to all clients and people who have helped us. It’s the least we can do for the support.
Check in with your customers
Follow up is key. Here at TME, we make it a habit to never let things lag. If someone emails or calls, we respond right away. In fact, we have a 24-hour response-time rule and we must follow up within that timeframe!
Give your team positive feedback
Providing fantastic customer service is a team effort. While we’re quick to complain about any issues, it’s better to focus on the positive instead.
When someone does a good job, reward them with positive comments or acknowledgement—have them set the example to the other team members.
Do you have a tried-and-true recipe for customer service? Share your thoughts below!