Here are eight lessons these entrepreneurs learned from their own customer service experiences

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While it’s often terrible customer service experiences that go viral on social media or become the topic of discussion over dinner, most people can think of a time when they experienced truly great customer service. From friendliness to personalized solutions, there are many reasons why these experiences stick in our minds.

For members Young Entrepreneurs Council, positive customer service experiences are learning opportunities for the future. Below, they share what they learned from specific customer service interactions and why they chose to implement these lessons into their own organizational processes.

1. A friendly, approachable approach goes a long way

One time, I ordered Melinda’s hot sauce variety. Instead of the flavors I ordered, the bottles I got were all the same and I didn’t even need to try them. I contacted their customer service and the support agent placed an order for a variety pack of hot sauce, upgraded it to one day delivery and told me to keep the other bottles because they made a mistake, not me. Wonderful! I received my bottles the very next day and became a brand loyalist. My takeaway from this experience is this: A friendly, approachable and helpful customer support team makes all the difference. I wouldn’t have ordered again if they weren’t so kind. Now, most of my friends and family know about Melinda’s sauces and I have made several purchases from them. – John Brackett, Smash Balloon LLC

2. Own your mistakes (even if the client doesn’t notice them)

I had my car serviced and couldn’t pick it up during their business hours, so they left my car keys in the lock box and said they would send a code to pick up my car after hours. I totally forgot to pick up my car because it wasn’t that important to me and the next day I got a call from management apologizing for not doing what they said. They said the next oil change would be free and that they knew my time was valuable and would regret wasting any of it. Their accountability and honesty really impressed me because I never knew they forgot to do anything if they didn’t bring it up. I use that experience as an example to my team to own up to our mistake if something goes wrong and not hope the customer won’t notice. – Kivel Lamano, Lamano Law Office


3. Great customer service is about reliability and punctuality

I’ve had great experiences with other app companies through the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. After I leave a review, especially an unfavorable one, I always hear back within 24 hours. That’s why I implemented this strategy in my own company. We aim to respond to all negative and positive reviews within 24 hours. Other leaders need to realize the importance of time. If you don’t respond for more than 48 hours, it sends a message that you don’t care about your customers and will hurt your company in the long run, whether they like your product or not. Reliability is another must. Don’t sound like a robot when responding to customers. Instead, make them feel like they’re talking to a real person. – Simon Bacher, Link app

4. You must give the customer a reason to tell a great story

One of the most important aspects of customer service is how a business handles their own mistakes. If Starbucks gets my drink wrong, they remake it at home with a smile. Sometimes, they include vouchers for future drinks if the wait is long or if they have to remake it multiple times. The lesson is that doing right by your customers, meeting every problem with a smile and a willingness to solve it is a long-term investment. Don’t focus on the number of times a particular negative experience a customer may have. Focus on the immeasurable ROI of the story they’re going to tell others about your company. Give them every reason to tell a great story about how your team solves problems professionally and kindly. – Tyler Bray, TK Trailer Parts

5. Attentive, personalized attention increases customer satisfaction

I learned a beautiful customer service lesson in a retail store. I was looking for baby products and there weren’t any clear directions for it. When I asked a customer service employee for help, instead of directing me, he took me to a specific area and helped me find the right item. This simple concept enhanced my buying experience. I learned that a little personalized attention can make a lasting positive impact on your customers. I shared this experience with my entire team and told them to infuse such customer personalization efforts into our business. Customizing the experience for an individual can lead to higher satisfaction levels. This is because the customer feels that the company has taken the time to understand their specific needs and wants. – Kelly Richardson, Infobrandz

6. Always aim to anticipate your customers’ needs before they do

I was having lunch at a hotel when a man at another table dropped his fork on the floor. Almost immediately, the head server took it and handed her a clean fork. I was very impressed because it happened so quickly and smoothly and it made a huge impression on me. It was as if she anticipated his need and was waiting there for him to realize his need. This gave me the idea for my approach to customer service: we need to know our customers so well that we can anticipate their needs and wants before they do. Giving them something extra that they want helps build relationships and endears us to them. – Baruch Labunsky, Rank is secure

7. Customer service should start before a problem occurs

Great customer service can make or break your small business. An example that comes to mind is when I purchased email marketing software for my business. I figured I’d buy the tool and learn it on my own. The next day I got an email from their support team asking if I wanted to schedule a training session so I could learn the ropes and start seeing results. I appreciated this proactive approach to customer service and it helped me get comfortable and convert my first visitors into email subscribers. I liked this approach so much that I started using a similar strategy and was able to increase our engagement and retention rate. – John Turner, Seed Broad LLC

8. Your team will treat customers the way you treat them

I remember a particular incident when I was at McDonald’s. I saw the manager greeting the staff in a very friendly manner and treating them the way they would treat customers. I realized that if you treat your employees well, they will treat your customers well. This is an important lesson for all leaders to learn. Creating a positive and supportive work environment is essential to maintaining a happy and productive culture. When employees are valued and appreciated, they are more likely to provide excellent customer service. It certainly was at McDonald’s. The manager’s positive attitude and friendly demeanor created a pleasant work environment that led to excellent customer service, a lesson I tried to implement in my own company. – Abhijeet Kalthade, Astra WordPress Theme


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