Instant Personal Customer Service Improvement

How would you like to be better received by your customers -even difficult customers and get higher ratings on every call your supervisor monitors? 

I have the perfect solution for you—-Introducing your Instant Personal Customer Service Improvement Blueprint. This week I am handing you 8 simple, but proven strategies to instantly improve your customer service approach. I guarantee these tips, when implemented, will give you phone finesse and the edge with unhappy customers. And your supervisors will be impressed.


1. Smile -You can actually hear a smile through the telephone. When you smile, you sound friendly, interested, and helpful. You also make the customer feel that your sole intent is to be of service and people really can tell the difference! So smile!

2. Don’t Say Anything You Wouldn’t Say to Your Grandmother – This simple rule will ensure you are polite, friendly, and helpful. Think before speaking with customers and if you would not make the statement to your grandmother, don’t say it to a customer.

3. Always tell the caller what you’re going to do – We’ve all felt that helpless feeling when we’ve been put on hold indefinitely or transferred to 3 departments and still not be able to get through to the right person. When we do this to callers, we are telling them they have no choice and certainly no control over the situation. These feelings produce frustration and a negative impression of you and your company. One way to avoid this is to tell callers what you are going to do before you do it.

When transferring callers to another person, give customers the name of the person you are connecting them with. If you need to place callers on hold, tell them so and ask if that’s acceptable. If you have to research the problem or speak with your manager, tell the caller exactly what you need to do.

4. Use the caller’s name – Using the caller’s name during a conversation helps you remember their name. Remembering names (and using names) shows you are genuinely interested in your customers and makes future dialogue or problem solving much easier because using names helps you create rapport.

5. Don’t cut customers off – I recall vividly calling my children’s pediatrician to request immunization records for my daughter a few weeks before she started kindergarten. When the receptionist answered the phone, I said: “I’d like to have my daughter’s immunizations records faxed to me so I can******.” The receptionist cut me off cold mid sentence to abruptly say: “What’s your child’s last name?”  The interruption was rude and it turned a simple phone call into a moment of misery.

6. Express Empathy With Unhappy Customers – Empathy can be a powerful tool used to disarm an angry customer and show that you genuinely care about the inconvenience the customer has experienced. Not to be confused with sympathy, empathy is identification with and understanding of the customer’s situation and feelings. You can express empathy by saying something similar to, “It must have been very frustrating for you to have experienced a delay in service. For that I am sorry.”

7. Don’t Cop An Attitude When Customers Ask to Speak to Your Supervisor – Sure, some customers who demand to speak to a supervisor have an agenda, but that doesn’t mean you have to be defensive or rude. Try one of my sure-fire responses to the “Get me your supervisor!” demand: “My supervisor has me in this position to help customers. Will you give me an opportunity to help you? If I don’t resolve the problem to your satisfaction, certainly, I’ll connect you with my supervisor.” This approach will work nine times out of ten.

8. Apologize In The Wake of Problems – Research has found that when an apology is perceived as genuine, customer satisfaction increases 10% to 15%. An apology should be offered both when the company is responsible for the problem and when the company is not responsible. An apology does not have to be an admission of fault. For example, you might say, “I’m so sorry for any misunderstanding you have experienced.” Or “If I were in your shoes, I’m sure I’d feel just as you do. I’m sorry for the frustration you have experienced.”

(For more on apologizing to customers, see my article on the Corproate Apology in 5 Easy Steps.)

I urge you to implement every one of these simple tips today and I promise, you will be better received by customers and you’ll impress your bosses.

It’s Just One Customer. What’s the Big Deal?



The very day of this writing I brought in a cleaning service to clean my home. I was so excited about bringing this service to my home because as a mother of a two and a business owner, I simply do not have time to dust, do windows and clean bathroom tile. I let the ladies from Maid for You in and headed out for work. I returned to find mildew still in the shower, smudges on the floor, dust throughout the house and a strange residue on my counter tops. My first thoughts were: “I paid for this! Heck, I could have done this myself!”  When I called the company a week prior, I had every intention of signing up on a weekly plan for $240 per month. When I called back to complain, the manager was polite, slightly apologetic, but did not guarantee my satisfaction and when I told him I’d certainly not move forward with my plan for weekly service, he said absolutely nothing. 


Here’s what Maid for You just threw away:


1 lost customer at $240/mo; $2880/year

I will tell 11* people about my dissatisfaction

My 11 friends will tell 5* people each

My influence reaches 66 people

(11 plus 55)

About a quarter (17) of the people I influence will never do business with Maid for You

Here’s how much the company will lose from me and 17 other people (who also abhor housecleaning) who would likely spend $240 a month: $51,840


*TARP, Inc. found that unhappy customers tell an average of eleven people about their dissatisfaction and that those eleven people tell five others. (But in the world of social media, I won’t tell 11 people…I’ll actually reach thousands.)

Do you get the idea? One lost customer really is a big deal!

6 Phrases That Let Customers Know Their Satisfaction Is Your Top Priority

  • “May I help you?”


  • “I’d be happy to…”


  • “It was my pleasure.”


  • “I have just the thing for you.”


  • “Is there anything else I can assist you with today?”


  • “Thank you.”

How do I get all of my supervisors together for calibration?

My call center has a great quality monitoring program and it’s been well received by our call center agents. We have had some challenges with consistency and most likely, regular calibration sessions will help, but we just cannot find the time to get every supervisor together. What suggestions might you have for getting an entire team of call center supervisors together for call monitoring calibrations sessions?

Myra’s answer to How do I get all of my supervisors together for calibration?   

A couple of suggestions:  If you’re currently only meeting once a month for calibration, you might go to twice monthly, that way if not everyone shows up at one meeting, you still have another session that month in which they could meet.

Another idea is to hold your calibration sessions weekly. I realize that sounds like a huge commitment of time – time you don’t have, and it is a scheduling nightmare, but here’s what it does for you:  If you hold calibration meetings weekly, for example, every Friday at 9:00am, you could then make it mandatory that every supervisor attends one calibration meeting per month. It doesn’t matter which Friday session, as long as they do attend one of the four Friday sessions.

A few months ago I hosted a webinar entitled Call Monitoring and the recording is now available. This program has dozens of tips for more effective call monitoring, agent coaching, and it discusses call monitoring technology. I encourage you to take a look at this program, as it may give you great insight for your current challenges.  View my call monitoring training outline.

Myra looks forward to answering your questions about customer service, contact center management, and customer service training. Please e-mail Myra at or tweet her at @myragolden.