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Five Steps To Getting Great Customer Service

by John Tschohl, President and Founder, Service Quality Institute - May 1, 2022


By John Tschohl

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How can you get great customer service? How can you get an employee to go above and beyond to help you? How can you get an employee to work on your behalf because they like you?

   Employees can work miracles for customers who appreciate them and are friendly and respectful. Be one of those customers.

   If you want to get great customer service—which is something we all want—I recommend that you take the following steps. And they work whether you are conversing face to face, on the phone, or by email. 

  1. Be friendly. Introduce yourself. Use your first name rather than Mr. Smith, Mrs. Brown, or Ms. Johnson because it sets the tone for everything that will follow. When you are informal, you establish a relationship that puts you and the employee on the same level and makes the conversation easier. Ask the employee for his name and use it during your conversation. Also, thank the employee in advance for his help.
  2. Describe what you need and acknowledge that the employee is the expert in meeting that need. Whether you are looking for help with the products and process necessary for refinishing your kitchen cabinets, looking for a dress to wear to a wedding, or in the market for a new fishing pole, give the employee as much information as you can so that he can guide you in the right direction. Let the employee know that you trust his advice to ensure that what you purchase will be the best product at the best price.
  3. Be polite. We all like to be treated like we matter. When you use words and phrases like “Please, thank you, and I appreciate your help,” you form a connection with the employee. You let him know that you value him and respect what he does. When you make an employee feel like a king or queen, that employee will treat you like a king or queen.
  4. Be humble. Don’t be arrogant or demanding. Employees deal with dozens of customers each day, many of whom treat them like serfs. You want to be the one who stands out by treating them like gods and goddesses of knowledge. Your goal is to befriend employees and to have them provide you with service that goes above and beyond the norm.
  5. Make employees feel like they are your partners. When you form a connection with employees—and show your vulnerability—they become your champions. That’s exactly what Beth did when dealing with an airline. She had two $100 vouchers but couldn’t locate them before she booked a trip for her and her daughter. She found the vouchers a week after returning home from the trip—and they had expired. She sent an email to the airline with this opening sentence: “I realize that this problem is mine, not yours.” She went on to explain her situation. Within a few days, the airline sent her two new $100 vouchers. Why? Because the airline’s employee empathized with Beth.

   Your goal is to get great customer service. Recognize that you play a critical role in achieving that goal. Leave your ego at home, befriend the employee, ask for help, and be appreciative. You’ll be surprised at the results.

For more information on John Tschohl and the Service Quality Institute, visit


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