You Are the Customer

7 Customer Service Attitudes You Should Adopt

Gleaned from Paul Hawken’s classic book: Growing a Business


1. Have a conviction instead of a credo.

“The customer is always right.”
”The customer comes first.”
”Stay close to the customer.”

Hawken says:
“The motto on the wall will have meaning only if it is truly the conviction of the person in charge. In the case of your business – you (the owner).”

2. Bad service is a gift to you.

The obsession for low prices and sales is a major cause in the decline of the service ethic in business.  This is especially true with big businesses, who trim staffs to prop up profit margins. The door is wide open for you to compete on service rather than price.

Hawken says:
”Service is the difference between the small business and the chain.”

3. Employees, not customers, come first.

Your level of customer service says more about your attitude toward your employees than your customers. A positive employee ethic results in a positive customer service ethic.

Hawken says:
”Employees’ attitudes toward customers reflect their treatment by their employers. They cannot serve unless served.”

4. The customer defines good service.

Put your dictionary away. Great customer service can’t be brainstormed without consulting the customer.

Hawken says:
”The customer receives good service only when he or she perceives it as good service.”

5. Customers want a person, not a policy.

Your customers should never have to hear: “I’m sorry, that’s our policy.”
It’s like saying, “Buyer beware. You’re screwed, and I don’t really care to do anything about it.”

Hawken says:
”Whatever policy you have about customer problems, be sure it’s simple, open-minded, and based on trust.”

6. Make it feel right.

Businesses get too caught up in rules, and the fear that if you make an exception for one customer, you have to make the same exception for all. You end up making no exceptions for anyone. Give your employees permission to do what they think is right.

Hawken says:
”Feeling right counts for everything because when the product and the money are exchanged, a feeling, sweet or sour, is what we’re left with.”

7. You are the customer.

It’s not you against the customer. You and the customer are on the same team, fighting for the same result: customer satisfaction.

Hawken says:
“A good customer service person must have permission to say, without fear, ‘to heck with the company.’”

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