JJ's (April '11) Tips in this issue:

1. Keeping Customers
2. JJ’s Favorite Quotes
3. Tele-Coaching, Mentoring, Training

Use the following tips as training tools.

Present this situation to your group and brainstorm solutions together, or submit your own situation question to be answered in an upcoming newsletter.


What are the businesses you go back to year after year, and what are the businesses you will NEVER return to again? What happened at these businesses that attracts you back, and at the ones that lost your business forever?


These are questions I have asked hundreds of people in my College of Customer Care seminars over the years. They have enjoyed telling everyone in the room about their companies and especially about the ones that they would never return to again. You see, bad customer service irritates, annoys and aggravates people to withdraw from their business.

If there is a similar business nearby giving good customer service, people will go to the other one if they are not too inconvenienced. The first business never knows why they left because most often people vote with their feet.

When I ask participants in my seminars if they just go someplace else instead, the majority say they usually do rather than complain.

Before sitting down to write my monthly newsletter yesterday, I went grocery shopping to take advantage of a sale that was ending that day. When I returned I noticed some of the sales items had not been charged correctly. Since I had been reading in our local paper that other people had been unhappy with this grocery chain, and I had experienced a similar problem the week before, I was annoyed.

It was only a ten dollar overcharge again but I returned to the store. The checker confirmed with the young man in the meat department that the sign read a different price than the product was marked and charged. She then took me to customer service for the refund. The customer service rep asked the checker if the meat department had taken the sign down because she had had other complaints too. The checker returned to take the sale sign down herself.

This was a good example of two employees not being trained or empowered to take responsibility for the customer’s experience. They had to be directed by someone else from another department after several customers complained. Department managers should empower front line people to take care of situations like this on the spot.

The customer service person was obviously not in a good mood when I arrived with the checker. She finished with another unhappy customer ahead of me and curtly directed me through the process of the refund. When I didn’t understand how the process went she was even more curt with me. She was lacking basic customer service training on how to deal with an upset customer. I said to her, “I have not gone through this before so you need to slow down.” The man waiting in line behind me said quite loudly, “Yes, slow down.” She looked at me with her eyes wide as though she had just seen me and said, “Oh, I need to slow down.” She was totally unaware that she was turning customers away.

It was noticeable that all three of the people in line with complaints left with unhappy looks on their faces. The rep had not said anything about understanding how they felt or being sorry that the error had happened or that they had had to make an extra trip back to the store. This is the first thing she should have said with a caring attitude, and then processed the refund.

If an unhappy customer isn’t allowed to vent to a caring, empathetic rep with a great attitude, the customer will walk away feeling the store doesn’t care that they were inconvenienced. Then they vent to family, friends and anyone else who will listen.

On my way home this store’s reputation had taken a dive in my mind as I considered going to another grocery store next week. Your business reputation is only as good as the last interaction customers have with your company.

By returning for the refund and telling the rep to slow down, I had registered complaints about how they were treating me. The only reason customers complain is that they want the situation corrected and changes made. They are telling the store they are unhappy and if changes are made, they will remain their customer. Otherwise, they would shop someplace else.

Since only a small number of customers complain when they’re unhappy, ask for customer feedback often. Also watch your customer’s body language for added insights.

Everyone in your company is part of customer service, sales and marketing whether they interface with customers or not.

It is the manager’s job to inspire them to have pride in quality work and to help them see how important their work is in retaining and attracting customers. This is also empowering them to take full responsibility for the customer’s experience on the spot. A smile and a genuine, super attitude also goes a long way as a lasting impression.


"If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude."
- Colin Powell

“Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.”
- Booker T. Washington


DO YOU WANT TO IMPROVE in an area? Service? Sales?

* Motivation and growth of your people?
* Dealing with irate internal or external customers?
* Leading and Coaching your staff?

TRY our one-on-one Tele-Mentoring (phone coaching service) that is available to business owners, executives, managers, supervisors and staff members.

Call for your FREE CONSULTATION now! 408 445-1590


Have you had an Evaluation of Your Environment lately so you could receive suggestions on improving it? (It's like the doctor's check up, you often don't know you need it, until after you've had it.)



JJ Lauderbaugh, CMC
408 445-1590, 1716 Husted Ave., San Jose, CA 95124.

JJ works with companies that want to give exceptional customer service to increase sales, and with Directors and Call Center/Help Desk Managers who want to improve human performance.

She's an international speaker, trainer, facilitator and certified management consultant (CMC) on customer service management, specializing in performance improvement, call centers, up/cross selling and outbound calling.

For training resources, free articles, tips and streaming video, go to our web site at:


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