Understanding Good Customer Service and Putting It Into Action

August 18, 2022 | 25 Mins Read

Good vs bad customer service | RingCentral UK Blog

You won’t be a stranger to the importance of customer service. It’s what makes commerce tick. The fact is that customers have come to expect even better customer service than ever before. 

Importance of Customer Service - Stats by Zendesk | RingCentral UK Blog
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When you’ve got nine out of ten customers rating customer service as important, you’d better get with it or get packing. But how do you go about giving customer service that’s not just good but the best in the business? Read on to find out. 

Good vs bad customer service

We all know what good customer service means, and we know when we experience it. Good customer service examples tend to stick in your memory. For this reason, you’d think that it would be easy to emulate. 

The big challenge with good customer service, and what stops it from cropping up everywhere, is that it depends on a number of factors being in place. Perhaps the most important is the one that’s most tricky to maintain: customer focus. 

Customer focus means that all the activity of a company should be directed at satisfying the customer, or even, in some companies, delighting the customer.

The point is that your business should shape all its processes with customer happiness in mind, no matter what sort of business it is. Whether face-to-face or online, your operation should be aimed squarely at customer satisfaction, and your staff should have the best tools at their disposal to achieve this aim. 

When you have a company that strays from this central principle, then you have bad customer service. 

Examples of bad customer service can occur throughout an organisation at any level. It could be that cashiers are more intent on catching up with each other’s weekend than serving the customers in front of them. 

Or it could be that decisions made by the board can wreck customer service. Let’s say the directors decide to cut customer service team numbers without making provision for the service shortfall. This can impact customer service in two ways. 

By reducing the staffing dedicated to customer care, queues can grow, and frustrations increase. 

But the culture of the company can be affected by this kind of policy. If it appears that company leadership isn’t prioritising customer care, this attitude can spread down from there. Before long, the whole company has changed its focus away from the customer and toward something far less productive.

Either way, you may lose customers, and, crucially, word can spread. And no word spreads like a bad word. Bad customer service stories are particularly contagious. That’s the power of storytelling.


Impact of bad customer service | RingCentral UK Blog
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This is the kind of stuff that will whack your wagon clean off course. If your business is going around upsetting customers, it won’t last long, as each of those wronged individuals will sing like megaphoning canaries all about how dreadful your company is. People love to hear about bad experiences. It’s unfortunate, but there it is. They do. 

So, let’s not give them the chance to enjoy themselves at your company’s expense. 

Importance of good customer service

The first thing to say about good customer service is that it’s effectively positive marketing for your company. So, you need your customer service to be good to avoid losing customers because a customer who doesn’t feel that your company’s giving them what they want will look elsewhere. 


‘‘In the world of Internet Customer Service, it’s important to remember your competitor is only one mouse click away.’’

– Doug Warner, Internet enthusiast and former chair of J.P. Morgan & Co


When that customer of yours clicks away from you, you’ll need to start thinking about attracting a new customer to take their place. But, as any business analyst will tell you, it makes no financial sense at all to ditch existing customers like empty husks and seek to replace them with shiny new prospects. 

It costs a good deal more to get new customers than to keep old ones. Moreover, low customer retention = disproportionately low sales. Bad news.

What is customer retention | RingCentral UK Blog
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13 examples of how to achieve good customer service

Now, we’re going to take a look at several factors of good customer service so that you can apply them to your own operation. Hopefully, you’ll be doing some of them already. 

1. Respond quickly

It seems so obvious, and it is. One of the key requirements in a viable customer service strategy is a timely approach to dealing with customers. Apart from the rudeness of a slack attitude, it clearly shows just how little your business values its customers. So, it must be something that all companies prioritise, right? So wrong. 

Let’s take a look at some findings about email response rates in 2021. They show a remarkable lack of emphasis placed on speed of response. 


The customer service response times stats | RingCentral UK Blog
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This is a pretty shocking finding. Why there should be this level of casualness is difficult to pinpoint. The specifics will probably vary from organisation to organisation, but it demonstrates a failure to grasp the value customers give to that most precious commodity, their time. 

So, your business needs to be distinct from what appears to be a fairly unimpressive crowd. Here are some ways to give your response time a real shot in the arm. 

Firstly, set targets. For phone calls, aim for four rings maximum. For email, aim for an hour’s turnaround. (Do be realistic, though. There’s no point in trying to achieve a ridiculous target.) 

Secondly, use technology. For instance, when it comes to the phone, if a four-ring target’s not working out, consider an interactive voice response (IVR) system, which will provide customers with a degree of assistance should your customer service reps be tied up. 

Another example of helpful technology is the self-service options that are increasingly popular. These have the advantage of providing support 24/7, thus cutting waiting times. See marketing solutions firm AdRoll for an example of how this can work. 

2. Personalise your response

As it’s become possible to store increasing amounts of data on each customer, usually via CRM, companies have been able to tailor their service to each customer’s requirements. 

How much personalisation you decide to put into your customer service operation will depend on your target demographic and territory. But it would seem that you need to make provision for at least some, as personalisation is popular. In fact, it’s been found that 80% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand that personalises the shopping experience. 

What shape can this take? Well, it depends on the sales route we’re talking about. It might be as straightforward as a cashier really taking an interest in a customer, escorting them to the relevant part of the shop, picking out items that might suit them, and lingering with them during and after the sale so that the customer feels individually attended to. 

Or it could mean something along the lines of what online retailer Zappos does, which is to have staff trained to be able to adjust to deal with any issues that arise in each individual call. They’re permitted to solve each customer’s issues however they see fit to ensure optimum customer satisfaction. For example, each staff member is authorised to offer a full refund. 

More and more, though, personalisation has come to mean using customer data to reach customers with products and information that will appeal to them. 

Up to now, email has been quite a favourite in this area. It’s easy to see why. Using data on a customer’s previous purchases, a business can respond to customer tastes by alerting them to upcoming products that might interest them. The process can be automated, too, which makes it simple. 

Other varieties of personal touch include having a website landing page that’s customised to the user. Again, where a shopper has shown interest in a particular area, selected items from that sector can be highlighted when the shopper next visits. This can be done quite subtly, as Amazon demonstrates.


Personalise response for good customer service
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Abandoned cart routines are an example of personalised shopping, too. When a customer decides to park their trolley before buying, the company can give the shopper a gentle reminder that there’s unfinished business there. 

This can be done by email and/or a message that appears the next time the individual visits the website. There can sometimes be a discount offered to tempt the shopper back behind the trolley.

Finally, a great example of a personalised response is the welcome aboard type message that gets sent out following a sign-up to a newsletter or after the first purchase. It gives the sensation of joining a select body of enlightened folk, and everyone loves being part of a cool gang. 

One drinks company even sends out personalised welcome video messages, recorded anew for each and every customer. In all honesty, you don’t have to do this. But it’s a pretty amazing level of personalisation.

3. Don’t let them wait

It’s hard to over-emphasise the importance of getting the job done in a speedy fashion. When it comes to what’s important to consumers as far as customer service is concerned, it’s rapid attention to a task that comes out on top. 


The important aspects of good customer service experience | RingCentral UK Blog
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However, sometimes, it’s just unexpectedly busy, and your resources are stretched. Most customers will understand this, and some will sympathise. This is why it’s super-important to ensure that your business never gives the impression that it’s not doing its best. 

A powerful example of this phenomenon is what happens when you’re waiting in a checkout queue, and all of the checkouts are busy. If it looks like the shop management’s doing all it can by opening as many checkouts as it can, then a reasonable customer will face facts and wait. 

However, if it looks like there are staff busy doing non-urgent tasks while tills sit idle, this won’t be regarded as acceptable by most customers. It’s even worse if there is staff apparently not doing very much at all. 

So, there are two lessons here. Always throw all the resources you have available at peak demand situations. And, if there’s a reason you can’t, make sure that it doesn’t look to the customers like you just can’t be bothered. 

Waitrose are great at this. Not only are staff deployed quickly and effectively, but they also tend to look very happy about it. (Not all supermarkets manage this.) One likely reason for this is that the staff are treated famously well. They’re even called company partners. 


Example of good customer service in Waitrose company
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This sort of thing makes for enhanced positivity that can’t help leaking out.

Another way customers can end up waiting too long is when shipping lets down an online operation. The faster you can get on top of any delays and let the customer know about them, the better. 

Take food company Yumble, for example. As soon as they get wind of a delay, they send out updates to all affected customers, with reassurance about the negligible effect the delay will have on the product’s condition.

4. Be empathetic

Empathy is often cited but rarely properly practised. Success in the empathy stakes is partially down to aptitude but mainly down to training. The majority of us are actually quite good at appreciating another’s perspective, but we’re often reluctant to do it. 

Why? It’s just easier to see things just from your own point of view, ratcheting up your confirmation bias as you go. Taking on another person’s outlook requires effort. But the most successful customer service practitioners will be willing to make this effort. 

The good news is that the more your customer service representatives employ empathy, the easier it gets, as this way of dealing with customers becomes a habit. 

The even better news is that customers value empathy very highly. They love it when they see it, but they don’t see it often enough. Consequently, this is where your empathetic staff can really stand out from the competition.


Understanding New Customer Expectations
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Of course, if it turns out you have a deficit of empathy for your staff and training won’t solve it, you might need to turn to LinkedIn and get recruiting. 

There’s a famous instance of empathy that’s worth mentioning. In 2017, thunderstorms left passengers stranded at airports around the south-east US, in response to which Delta Airlines organised delivery of pizza to all its customers. There aren’t many situations that pizza can’t help. Great empathetic customer service. 

5. Listen actively

There’s a lot to be gained by listening.

‘Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.’

 Bill Gates

Organisations can spend a huge amount on divining the feelings of their customers. Surveys and other outreach measures can be expensive, take up a lot of time, and sometimes not be all that valid in the first place. 

What if a company could have, free of charge, individuals coming to it and telling them how things might be improved? That’s the dream, surely. Well, that’s incoming calls. And to paraphrase the Seattle super brain, the more unhappy the customer, the more good stuff there is to learn from their call. 

But what you do have to do is to listen actively. This is what good conversationalists do. Quite often, somebody in an interaction can seem, on the one hand, far from engaged or, on the other, all too eager to chip in. Both routes are off-putting to the customer who’s just trying to have their issue dealt with in an effective and caring manner. 

Actively listening is an effective sales technique too.  

Talk-to-listen ratio on good customer service
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So what is it? It’s a technique involving a number of practices, including giving cues that you’re listening without letting those cues take over or distract the customer from what they’re trying to say. 

Face-to-face, we can employ simple but hugely effective nods and smiles to indicate that we’re attending to what’s being said. Eye contact and body stance are massively important and can make the customer feel much happier about the interaction from the first word. 

If it’s a phone call, then we’re limited to audio cues to keep the conversation going. It’s a trickier skill, as the information regarding the customer’s attitude and mood is more restricted than it would be if the customer were visible. 

Other components of active listening include paraphrasing, asking pertinent questions, and avoiding judgement. 

With training and practice, we can all become better active listeners, with the bottom line being benefits both for the business and the customer. 

6. Take ownership

We can’t all get things right all the time. Part of being human is making mistakes. It’s how we deal with those mistakes that speaks volumes about our quality, and it’s the same with businesses. 

Don’t be afraid to apologise. It helps. It doesn’t have to mean that you’re begging for forgiveness. It can just mean that you’re sorry that the customer experience has been less than optimal. 

Author Mark Matthews puts it well: ‘Apologizing does not always mean that you’re wrong and the other person is right. It just means that you value your relationship more than your ego.’ 

Excellent customer service is, at times, very much about the sacrifice of ego on the altar of good relationships.

If there are problems in your delivery, whether it be a product fault or a process failure, it’s normally best to own up. But prepare a route out of the mess so that customers can see that there’s an alert management in charge and panic can, therefore, be avoided. 


The benefits of taking ownership in business
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An example of a company taking ownership appropriately and effectively is when Southwest Airlines had their first in-flight fatality in 2018. The CEO and staff of the airline quickly sprang into action to ensure that each passenger had everything they needed, from counselling to accommodation. The CEO also made a sympathetic statement to the family of the deceased and everyone who had been on board the plane.

A customer will really appreciate a member of staff’s willingness to take responsibility for an issue. Always remember that, as far as the customer’s concerned, the member of staff they’re dealing with is the company. So if they’re seen as trying to shrug responsibility onto a different body, this will be seen as the company trying to avoid blame. 

This is true even if the staff member is citing another part of the same company. It will still go down badly with customers. So, staff need to be prepared to take the hit. And rapidly move to a solution.

7. Be accurate and transparent

Customers demand and deserve good honest information regarding the solution to their problem. Not being able to provide a solution rates highly in customer frustration scores.


Top customer experience frustration
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But if it’s going to take a while, you’re going to have to tell them this. Otherwise, you’re just kicking the can of complaint down the road to ruin, and that customer will contact you again, except this time, twice as unhappy. 

So, be honest. If it’s going to take four weeks to solve the problem due to a backlog of cases, tell them this. If this elicits frustration and it looks like relations with the customer could take a distinct turn for the worse, suggest other means that will keep them functioning. 

Can the business send out an interim replacement product to keep the customer happy? Is there any other route that can be taken to speed things up? Is there a premium service level that can be sold to them? By giving the customer the information they need in order to assess the true nature of their predicament, it might be possible to upsell to them. 

Product knowledge is the key factor here, and one of the best exponents of this is Apple. Its Genius Bar staff know their products inside out, often literally. This is all down to training and, of course, having cool products that people tend to find fascinating. 

See also  CX Defined


Mobile phone for taking high resolution images


8. Build small talk or rapport

This is one of those things that some people can do much more easily than others. Being able to naturally keep a chat going and, thereby, make the customer feel more comfortable is a hugely valuable skill. 

Just like most skills, it can be taught. Staff can be trained to utilise naturally occurring factors to build up a relaxing relationship with a customer. There are certain tactics that can be adopted.


How to engage in small talk
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A classic subject area to talk about is work. The staff member who asks their customer to tell them the best thing about their job is likely to start things off on a good footing. It pays to be positive. 

It’s worth taking a second to assess the individual, though. An irate customer holding in their hands the smoking remains of one of your products is unlikely to respond glowingly to a stridently cheery ‘Soooo… how’s life treating you today?’.

The best small talkers employ a degree of discretion. Rather than simply laying on a blanket of fluff over every interaction, they’ll only utilise these pieces of conversational mortar where appropriate, such as to fill an otherwise awkward silence or just because the customer seems to like it. 

Only by using small talk in this measured and appropriate way can a rapport be achieved and maintained. Once a rapport’s established, it can smooth over a lot of tension and potential difficulty and ease the path to resolution, so it’s well worth pursuing. 

9. Be aware of their time

As we’ve touched upon, customers tend to value their time rather highly. A customer service experience that includes an acknowledgement of this will, therefore, go down very well. A great real-life example of this is provided by Tesla, the electric vehicle company. If one of their premium motors goes wrong, you don’t need to take it to a garage. They’ll come to you. 


White super car on the racing track


The company clearly wishes to demonstrate a high regard for a customer’s time and convenience. And this is something that the average Tesla customer is willing to pay highly for. 

Conversely, a great way of showing a customer just how little you value their time is to place them on hold forever. Studies have shown that after being on hold for as little as 40 seconds, 15% of customers hang up. And it’s unlikely they’ll then start trumpeting to everyone about how great your company is. 

10. Go the extra mile

So, we’ve mentioned that people don’t expect 100% excellence all the time. But they do expect a business to perform well at what it does. For this reason, we need to pay attention to our processes and maintain quality at all times. This is an assertion that’s been true since toga times. 

‘‘We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.’’

– Philosopher Will Durant, paraphrasing Aristotle

All too often, however, bad habits and inertia can creep in, so be sure to keep your processes and staff in tiptop condition by checking in with them regularly and instituting regular refresher training modules, either in person or via remote means

Part and parcel of this training can be to instil in your staff’s heads the idea of going one step further. If the customer’s expecting a courtesy car while their vehicle’s being repaired, give them this, with a little box of chocolates inside it. If the same customer needs directions, give them the latest information regarding traffic, too. It’s a great habit to get into.

11. Provide more options and alternatives

It’s very easy for a business to achieve success and then merely put its activities on repeat. The problem is that one’s competition never stays still, and what was boss-standard one minute becomes bog-standard the next. So, you need to stay abreast of your competitors. But you can’t just do this. It’s not an end in itself. 

‘‘Companies that solely focus on competition will die. Those that focus on value creation will thrive.’’ 

– Edward de Bono, lateral thinking luminary

So, you need to come up with improvements. An area of improvement that gives a great ROI is extending the range of options and alternatives that apply to a product. 

This is why car ranges, for instance, offer a wealth of variations. The Mini that was unveiled by BMW in 2000 has now been superseded by a range of five distinct models, each with a myriad of options designed to leave no demand unsatisfied. Want a fast Mini? Check. Want an electric Mini? Check. Want a maxi Mini? Check. 

The longer your product’s available, the more variations in demand will occur. If you’re selling a range of white goods, it’s only a matter of time until somebody wants one in black. You need to be able to fill this gap before somebody else does.

Another area that you can give a better option range is in the array of contact channels your business offers. 

Contact centre analytics back this up. A survey of customer support centres showed, unsurprisingly, that there’s a diminishing number of customers who write letters to them. By 2020, they were forming just 1.9% of the total communication contact centre support teams received. 

Email, on the other hand, rose by almost 50% between 2014 and 2020, and live chat saw a similar increase. Interesting that a good old-fashioned phone call has retained, in fact, increased its popularity among communication channels.

Multi Channel Mix Table
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So, as good contact centre management will demonstrate, a business needs to stay on top of omnichannel developments and other evolutions in customer demand all the time. 

12. Choose words and tone carefully 

Sometimes, the words and tone available to the staff member will be prescribed by the character of the business. A medical clinic dealing with sensitive and sometimes distressing information will need to adopt a more measured and sober tone than a shop selling surf gear. 

However, a good tip for those staff who are struggling to find the right tone is to mirror the tone the customer is using. There are limits to this, of course. An aggressive email is best not replied to with an equal dose of aggression. But, by and large, if a customer demonstrates a particular style, say casual and emoticon-filled, it pays to give them that style right back.

In general, err on the side of gentle and polite. However, if you can get away with it, it can be great to use an individual tone. See dog food maker Butternut Box.


Example of good customer service in food maker industry
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While personality can be great, be careful not to employ local dialect or obscurities. This is especially the case in a chat environment where brevity’s everything, so each word carries a lot of meaning. If there’s any vagueness here, then misinterpretations can be damaging. 

13. Act on customer feedback

Customer feedback’s big business right now, and it’s obvious why. Getting back to that customer calling in and presenting a company with valuable information, soliciting feedback (or voice of customer) is operating in the same area. 


Act on customer feedback
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And just as a customer calling in with a complaint delivers more useful information to a company than a conference call full of its biggest fans, it’s the same with feedback. 

It’s lovely to hear how well one’s business is doing, but, short of telling you to keep doing what you’re doing, it doesn’t really give much help. As we’ve seen, keeping on keeping on is the trap that companies fall into when they forget to evolve, so pure positivity can be fatal. 

So, you need to get honest customer feedback. You can get this by asking for it in the shop via printed flyers, or you can put a survey on your website or social media. You can also email a survey to customers, or you can include a few questions at the end of a call. 

There are lots of ways of getting this information. But you then need to do something that’s so easy to forget. You need to act on it. 

So, analyse the data that’s coming in and ascertain what needs prioritising. Then see to it that the changes take place. Then comes a crucial phase. Shout about the fact that you’ve listened and you’re implementing the improvements needed. It shows that your business has the rarest of qualities: responsivity. 

Cosmetics company Glossier handles feedback in a meaningful and visible way. The company has a team within the marketing department that’s responsible for seeking, collating, and acting on feedback. This activity produces great marketing content, which is why members of the team are called ‘editors’.

Frequently asked questions about customer service

There are some FAQs that repeatedly crop up in the world of customer service. Let’s have a look at a few of them. 

Are customers never wrong?

Are customers never wrong?

It’s an adage as old as the tills: ‘The customer’s always right.’ But how can a customer always be right? We’re none of us perfect. 

However, think of it from another perspective. The customer, by dint of choosing to support your business, has bought themselves some leeway. In order to keep this customer, your business has to treat them with a lot of respect and, to an extent, indulgence.

In the world of commerce, in fact, in just about every field, nothing’s really black and white. A customer who’s blurting out untruths is plainly in the wrong. But you want to keep this customer. You need to keep this customer. 

So what you need to do is treat the customer as if their issue, preposterous as it may be, is supremely sane and perfectly reasonable. That way, you stand a greater chance of retaining their custom. Because, as ever, if you don’t, there are plenty of competitors out there who’ll suck pretty much anything up in the name of commercial success. 

Having said all this, it’s important to establish limits with your staff. Nobody should be subjected to abuse, so if a customer’s not only wrong but downright rude into the bargain, your staff are within their rights to say ‘No’ to being a punchbag. Your staff should be able to expect safety in the workplace.

Ultimately, a conversation that’s proving impossible for your staff member to endure should be terminated, politely but firmly. A warning should be delivered along these lines: ‘I see that you’re upset about your experience, and I really do want to help you, but I won’t be able to if you carry on swearing. Is that clear?’ 

Your colleague is then within their rights to hang up at this point. Make sure that they know to note down everything about the call. Chances are, it will have been recorded. But it’s good that they jot down their feelings about it, too. Then, when you follow up with the rep, you’ll have a good range of information available to you.

So, although a customer has bought themselves a certain status together with the right to be treated with care and understanding, nobody should be able to buy the right to make another person miserable. These people are never right. 

How can you handle a demanding customer?

There are a number of ways of dealing with demanding customers. The most important factor for you to bear in mind is that whatever the customers’ problems, they’re not about you. So don’t let it become about you. Don’t add to the problem. 

There’s a template that can be followed, but don’t let it seem like you’re following one. It detracts from the impression that you’re giving the customer individual and special attention. 

Allow them to vent. It will deplete any anger they may have. (Anger’s natural. So, you need to handle it. Take it seriously. Show that you take it seriously. But never take it personally.)

Inside, you must stay calm. Not always easy. Behaviour breeds behaviour, but don’t let the customer’s anger breed the same in you. Instead, be calmness itself. If you do it well and stick to it, this will be the behaviour that breeds. 

It’s not for nothing that Navy SEALS stick to the maxim ‘Calm is contagious.’ In the heat of battle, if you’re with people who are calm, you stand a better chance of being calm, too. 

It’s a good idea to paraphrase the issue back to the customer, followed by ‘Have I got that right?’. The calmness and rationality that you’ve projected, combined with your summary of the situation, will give the most difficult customer the feeling that they’ve been listened to with reason. This is the first step to having a happy customer.

When they’ve finished, say something demonstrating empathy, for example, ‘Yes, that does sound pretty upsetting. Let’s see what we can do.’

It’s sometimes useful to lay out the steps like this

  • What’s the problem?
  • What are the customer’s goals?
  • What are your options?

This approach can keep the call on track and help deliver customer satisfaction. 

It’s also beneficial to focus on the solution, not the problem. Once the customer has described (perhaps in quite a lot of detail) their plight, it then becomes time to construct a solution. Occasionally, the customer’s unwilling to leave the problem stage of the call behind, and they may try to pop back for another dunk of the complaint cookie into the moan mug. 

It’s at this stage that you should try turning that negative into a positive. ‘I simply cannot calm down. I can’t get over how I was treated.’ could be responded to as: ‘Yes, it must have been dreadful for you, but let’s concentrate now on how we’re going to make things right so that you don’t have to think about that unpleasantness any longer.’

On occasion, however, no matter how good an employee’s customer service skills are, they may feel that they have an issue that they’re not in a position to tackle. For these times, it may be a good idea to have routes available for them to escalate the call. 

To have their call put through to a more senior person may give the customer the feeling that they’re being taken seriously. It’s certainly what some customers will request. 


How to deal with the angry customer
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From a problem-solving perspective, sometimes another pair of eyes can work wonders, so it’s a good idea to see if the call would be better routed elsewhere. Besides, it’s what the seniors are paid the big bucks for. 

Just one final caveat here. If you want to make an angry customer utterly irate, here’s an idea: compel them to repeat their whole story to each and every new representative they’re put through to. That’ll get them fuming nicely. 

To avoid this scenario, make sure your system has a real-time updatable knowledge base feature so that any data a colleague needs is right there on a screen. 

How can you turn customers’ issues into an opportunity?

We’ve talked about how complaints are your opportunity to improve the quality of your operation. These tend mainly to be characterised by a customer pointing out a failing and you righting the wrong. Result.

Any interaction with a customer is an opportunity to get more business from that customer, even if your business is guilty of having failed them. If you can remedy matters, it shows you care, and relations with the customer can be made better than before. Hey presto – one loyal customer.


Converting happy customers to loyal one
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However, it’s also possible to turn a failing on the part of the customer into an opportunity. Take the Ritz-Carlton group. 

Each employee there has an allowance of up to $2000 a day to fix any guest problem. A departing guest from their Sarasota hotel left their laptop charger behind. The next day they were delighted to receive from a hotel employee not only the charger but also a spare, together with a personal note from the staff member concerned. 

That guest will always remember how well they were treated by that employee, and, with any luck, customer loyalty will result. So, that’s some of that $2000 very well spent indeed. 

A lot of the difficulty that companies face when trying to deliver a quality customer service operation resides in what’s been called the Customer Service Gap Model

This gap explains that customers have been given the impression, rightly or otherwise, that amazing customer service is theirs for the taking. Too often, however, this doesn’t match the reality of what happens during the customer journey. When this happens, the whole product or offering becomes tainted. 

So, there are two options. We either seek to lower customer expectations, or we raise our game. The former’s a non-starter, for all sorts of obvious reasons, not least because while you’re telling customers not to get their hopes up, your competitor’s telling them to dream big. So, raise that game. 


A lot of the difficulty that companies face when trying to deliver a quality customer service operation resides in what’s been called the Customer Service Gap Model

This gap explains that customers have been given the impression, rightly or otherwise, that amazing customer service is theirs for the taking. Too often, however, this doesn’t match the reality of what happens during the customer journey. When this happens, the whole product or offering becomes tainted. 

So, there are two options. We either seek to lower customer expectations, or we raise our game. The former’s a non-starter, for all sorts of obvious reasons, not least because while you’re telling customers not to get their hopes up, your competitor’s telling them to dream big. So, raise that game!

Originally published Aug 18, 2022

Allyn Jayawon


Allyn is the SEO Specialist for EMEA at RingCentral, the leader in cloud communications solutions.