How to Give Great Customer Service without Being a Doormat

I recently had a client tell me that she is most proud of her excellent standard for customer service that her agency delivers. Then she backed this up with a story about a travel client who not only ignored her advice but also reprimanded the travel agent for giving the advice on multiple occasions and claimed she was pestering her. When the client called frantically 2 days before travel because she didn’t listen to the travel agent’s advice, the travel agent bent over backward to “be of service,” fix the problem and then drove her client to the airport on her travel day. The travel agent did all this and never charged a service fee.

I wouldn’t call this excellent customer service. I would call this being a doormat. If she had stopped at fixing the problem for her client, I would have given her credit for the good customer service. But she went beyond that. And going beyond that without charging a service fee is, IMO, letting her client walk all over her. There is a fine line, but there is a difference.

What’s the difference? It’s simple. It comes down to the energy behind the action. In other words, when you are delivering customer service, are you coming from a place of wanting to please, or are you coming from a place of being of service?

There is a distinct difference between these two. The difference is in the energy behind your effort. When you are coming from a place of wanting to please, your intention is to get something. Maybe you want to get approval, or praise, or referrals, or something else. It doesn’t matter. In all cases, you are coming from a “getting” place. That means you feel unworthy or not whole. That means you are more aware of the absence of something than the presence of something. That means you have resistance in your energy.

When you are coming from an authentic place of being of service, your intention is to give something. It could be giving a compliment, or extra advice, or extra time/attention. No matter what it is you are giving, you can’t give if you don’t have. The only way to come from a “giving” place is to fill yourself up first, so that you have something to give. When you are truly coming from a giving place, there is NO resistance. The giving of service flows freely and effortlessly.

So how do you fill yourself up with a sense of value so that you can come from a non-resistant giving place? The best place to start is in developing good boundaries. When you have no boundaries, there is no container for the filling. It leaks out all over the place. When you have good boundaries, you give yourself a gift which you can then tap into to give to other people.

So the next time you work on a client’s itinerary after dinner, instead of connecting with your spouse, children, or yourself, ask yourself a question: Am I avoiding drawing a boundary here? Do I feel resistance in my “being of service?” Am I really trying to get something, or am I freely and effortlessly giving? Be honest with your answer.

I normally close my articles with a final paragraph titled “Your Assignment.” Instead, I leave you with my top 7 Commandments for Great Customer Service. Exercise these commandments only when you can come from a giving and non-resistant place.

1. Get back to your clients: You don’t have to answer the phone all day and all night. You don’t have to get back to them immediately. But you can create a system where you check messages and emails at certain times of day and be in the habit of either getting back to them with what they want or communicating that you are working on it.

2. Keep Your Promises. Plain and simple – follow through.

3. Listen to your Clients.

4. Deal with complaints and fix problems.

5. Be helpful by sharing as much information as you can.

6. Take the extra step

7. Surprise them

 

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