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Note: The two book excerpts on excellent customer service below may be used in newspapers, magazines, newsletters, blogs, and other media without written permission as long as the byline directly below each excerpt is included.
 

When the Phone Rings While You’re with a Customer

If you need to answer the phone while you’re busy with a customer, put your current customer first.
 

Here's How

  1. Excuse yourself with your current customer before you answer the phone.
  2. Thank the person who’s calling for contacting you and politely explain that you’re already helping a customer or client
  3. Ask for their name and phone number and repeat the number back to them to verify that you’ve written it down correctly.
  4. Tell them you’ll call them back – don’t talk to the caller at length and leave your customer waiting.


Once you’ve finished assisting your initial customer, call your phone customer back right away and thank them for their patience. If you don’t have time to call them back immediately, hand the name and number to a co-worker and ask them to call – then follow up to make certain they did!

In the past year, one in two customers have walked away from an intended purchase due to poor customer service.


Excerpted from Smile: Sell More with Amazing Customer Service, Copyright © 2013 by Kirt Manecke. Kirt Manecke is the founder and former owner of an award-winning specialty retail business in Michigan. Kirt is the author of the award-winning bookSmile: Sell More with Amazing Customer Service. Visit www.SmiletheBook.com.
 

Follow Up

Follow-up is key to providing amazing customer service and making sales. Always follow up promptly with customers and provide timely updates and communications.
 

Phone

Return phone calls right away – at least by the end of the business day, at worst within 24 hours.

Email

The rule for email is exactly the same: return all email inquiries from customers as soon as possible – at least by the end of the business day, at worst within 24 hours.

Service Situations

If you’re an automotive or other service business with a waiting room, keep your customers informed on the status of their repair on a consistent basis, perhaps hourly. Don’t leave them wondering or feeling disrespected or ignored.
 

Similarly, if you’re managing a waiting room or examination rooms in a health care setting, come back often to inform your patient on the status of their visit and how long they can expect to wait for test results or to see a doctor or nurse.
 

If the customer is waiting off site, e.g. for car or computer repair, consistent updates are still very important. Let your customer know when they can expect to hear from you and follow through with regular updates.
 

Tip:

In all situations, a good rule of thumb is to always do what you say you’re going to do. If you promise someone you’ll “call them right back” or “get right back to them,” then do it! Many businesses neglect this simple rule and lose many customers as a result.
 

Sixty percent of millionaires cite not returning phone calls promptly as the top reason they’d fire a financial advisor.
 

Excerpted from Smile: Sell More with Amazing Customer Service, Copyright © 2013 by Kirt Manecke. Kirt Manecke is the founder and former owner of an award-winning specialty retail business in Michigan. Kirt is the author of the award-winning book Smile: Sell More with Amazing Customer ServiceVisit www.SmiletheBook.com.

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