Customer Service Tips

How To Keep Customers Happy

Written by Andrew Goldman for Gaebler Ventures

Keeping your customers happy is crucial to success. If your customers are waiting in line, don't aggravate the situation by having employees around who are not helping customers.

There's nothing more aggravating for a customer waiting in line than seeing employees behind the counter who are doing tasks other than helping the customers.

What the customer usually does not understand is that there are typically valid reasons why certain employees are not helping customers. They may be completing other critical tasks, answering the telephone or they might not be trained to deal with the customers. No matter what the reason, since the customer views this as inefficient and aggravating, we should do our best to keep these employees out of the customer's sight.

This may be difficult given the layout of your working space, but efforts can still be made to alleviate this issue. Sometimes shelving or other assets can be shuffled around to keep non-customer-servicing employees out of sight. Psychologically, just moving them out of the customer service area may alleviate the problem. Put yourself in the position of the customer waiting in line, you certainly don't want to have an employee standing next to the service teller but not helping a customer.

Try moving employees completing other tasks to a different part of the building. If they are doing paperwork, is there an office where they can complete their work? Get creative, if employees have to answer phones, setting up a couple of cubicle walls could keep them out of sight and provide them more privacy to handle phone calls.

It has been established that customers waiting in line do not like seeing employees available who are not helping customers. While you can take measures to keep these employees out of sight, this does illustrate a bigger issue. If your customers are waiting in long lines and you have a lot of queues building up, this problem should be addressed. It's possible that the customers are right and your other employees should be helping customers. In addition, if long lines are typical, hiring another employee or a part-time employee may help the issue as well.

An example that I typically see in service industries, is a manager who does not service customers because they are "managing the employees". Your managers and all employees need to understand the importance of your customers and how critical good customer service really is.

I have seen several examples where the manager was able to help customers and still handle their managerial duties. While this should not be a permanent solution, it can be a great way to help out a random long queue that forms in your company.

If you have long lines in your company, chances are your customers are frustrated while waiting. Try and take measures that will calm their nerves and make their experience in your company more enjoyable.

Put yourself in their shoes and try to keep your non-servicing employees out of the customer's viewpoint. You should also train your employees on the importance of excellent customer service. When a line forms, employees should not be taking their breaks, chit-chatting or dilly-dallying. These are all major frustrations for the customer and can cost the company in the long run.

Andrew Goldman is an Isenberg School of Management MBA student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He has extensive experience working with small businesses on a consulting basis.

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