Cornerstones of Outstanding Customer Service

October 19, 2020


Customers are every organization’s most important asset. That means no matter how good your products or services, anything less than stellar customer service can send sales sliding. And today, organizations dealing with potentially fewer staff and higher volumes of inquiries must work even harder to provide the most reliable customer service possible.

Here are the cornerstones of exceptional customer service that will satisfy your customers — under any circumstances.


First, offer customers options:


  •  On the phone. For people on hold, state their expected wait time and offer a return call option, along with ways to potentially get faster help on your website.
  • Online: Offer chat and other self-serve options. Most customers prefer to place orders and solve problems themselves. Provide updates about new products and services and easy ways to resolve issues.


  • In person: Give customers your undivided attention. Don’t pitch your products or offer boilerplate speeches. Ask perceptive questions to determine if a customer in fact needs something other than—or in addition to—what they’re asking for.


Stay positive. “Put a smile in your voice” on the phone, and of course, offer a sincere smile in person to show customers you care. People feel valued when they interact with real human beings—not someone reading off a script.

Know your products and services. Be ready and able to explain—in detail—how specific features will solve customers’ problems.


See the value in complaints. Complaints offer the chance to fix issues—those you know about and those you may be unaware of. Offer customers opportunities (i.e., online or phone surveys) for constructive feedback. 


Respond quickly. Customers value their time above all else. However, for customers with knotty issues, take as long as necessary to resolve problems to their satisfaction.

Go above and beyond. Discounts, serve-service options, small free gifts, additional information on how to use a product—all should help satisfy buyers.


Keep your word. Deliver on time and follow up when you say you will. Should you miss a deadline or are unable to call back on time, offer a perk: a discount, a refund; whatever makes sense. It’s always better to under-promise and over-deliver.  

Reliability, respect and patience are the cornerstones of great customers service—so practice them daily, especially during this challenging time.

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