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Paulo Silva

Director of Marketing and Accounts in a Advertising Agency , Celeuma

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What are the best rules to serve customers?

The relationship between supply and demand has required companies to improve levels of customer service. In your opinion what are the main rules in customer service?

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    Mar 21 2013: --ATTENTION CUSTOMERS-- Please pick two: Good Quality. Good Service. Low Prices.
  • Mar 22 2013: Identifying those you want as customers Are you making them happy, and do they return?
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    Mar 21 2013: Treat your customers as you'd want to be treated.
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    Mar 21 2013: Finding out exactly what they want and delivering it.

    People have an emotional reason for buying something, that is the thing you have to supply.

    With Walmart it is the lowest price which aids people's survival, with Rolls Royce it is a vanity thing as well as a tool to promote themselves which aids their survival.
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    Mar 31 2013: Thanks for your responses!

    This is indeed a very broad question but the reflection made by all is very important because it allows me to get a general idea of the motivations and opinions of each of you guys.

    We really need to promote good service through the personal aspect not forgetting "quality" of the product or service itself, always remembering that we manage customers expectations, who may be different from person to person!
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    Mar 25 2013: Well, I suppose one's goal is to make the customer happy, and each customer is a little different in what will make them happy. Thus one must try to read the customer and intelligently decide what kind of treatment will please them.

    I suppose it's good to be honest, one should try to discover if there are reasons why one's product might not be right for the customer and share them. For example, if you are selling a house, you are supposed to mention the flaws in the house, such as bad plumbing, so the buyer knows about them in advance.

    I also think it's good to admit when you don't know the answer to a customer's question. I have dealt with customer service people who try to fool me into thinking they are giving me the answer to my question when they actually don't know the answer. It would be easier if they would just refer the question to their supervisor.

    I think it might be good to remember that one's customer is a person outside just being your customer, to realize they have a life outside just what they want to buy in your store.
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    Mar 22 2013: Well, I have a huge Customer Service Background... just treat others as you would be treated. And a smile can go a long way!

    Here is an analogy I use a lot. If I go out to eat, to restaurant A. The food is remarkable! Amazingly delicious, but the staff does not treat me well... I am never going back there, no matter how delicious that food is...

    now I go to restaurant B the food is okay, not bad, not good, nothing to rave about... BUT the service was extraordinary, then I continue going to Restaurant B...

    ronney
  • W T 100+

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    Mar 22 2013: Are you talking about how the customer is treated "while" shopping?

    Or are you talking about how the customer is treated at the cash register?

    Or are you talking about how the customer is treated at the customer service counter?

    Or are you talking about how the customer is treated over the phone when they call the customer service department?

    Which of the above? All? Or just some?

    I personally find your question vague.
  • Mar 21 2013: Offering customers service what they deserve.committing your responsiblity for the products u sell.
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    Mar 21 2013: Paulo,

    I just noticed you are in Portugal. I would be curious to know what shopping at retail locations is like in your country. An interesting cultural difference I have become aware of over the last 5 years is that shopping is different in Europe than it is in my area. ie, Seattle.
    We had an exchange student a few years ago from Poland. She made an odd comment after shopping one day. She said "everyone is so nice" I thought that was odd as it seemed normal to me. I then learned that shopping in Europe is more business like. I got a first hand experience on a recent trip to Germany and Austria. People stand in line, do not chat, not much help at stores and the check out person is all business. When I chatted with people in line, or the store clerks it had an odd feeling and I later realized it really is a different culture.

    Is it the same in Portugal?
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      Mar 31 2013: Leo, in Portugal we are in a financial crisis that requires us to be rational in the buying process! With few exceptions the major stores are located in major shopping centers where the reception of customers do not always go well for being done by labor very little specialized. The traditional trade has lost tremendous ground and is currently in a very fragile situation, although these stores where you can have a good customer care. Overall the Portuguese are friendly, welcoming and you can find in our stores products and services that strive for excellence!
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    Mar 21 2013: As a business owner I have learned that customer service really matches the company outlook and culture. There are car dealers that realize a majority of sales are to new clients they will never see again; in those cases they slam customers into cars, make the deal, and move on. They do not care much for customer service in a manner that really benefits the customers. AND that business model works for them (our largest selling ford dealer in our state did business that way)

    However, in my business, as with similar business, we have an ongoing relationship with clients. In that case the easiest answer I can give is that we choose a Nordstrom approach. Treat them fair, be nice, build a relationship, look out for their best interest even when that means buying a product you do not sell.

    I actually took a Nordstrom approach for years before realizing Nordstrom did the same thing. Specifically I always hired nice people over mean people. The logic is simple. It is easier to train a nice person to perform a task eg, accounting, than it is to teach an accountant to be a nice person. It is easier to teach a nice person to do "anything" vs teaching someone to be nice.

    Then customer service falls into place. It is interesting to note that Nordstrom's does not have a formal Customer Service training system. I have had to track down employees and politely interview them for their tips and tricks as there is very little in print on their methodology.