Customer Service – Avoiding Negative Impressions

Customer service can be a misunderstood concept. It has to do with things you should and shouldn’t do to keep your customers satisfied and thinking well of your business or organization. You want them to come back, and you want them to reccommend you to their friends and associates.

I’m sure you have heard that “word-of-mouth” is the best advertising you can get. This is true, but sometimes those same words can be your worst enemy. When a client is satisfied he will recommend you to the people who ask. But if he has a bad experience, he’ll tell anybody who will listen!

Your goal is to make sure that everybody who has contact with your business in any way is left with a good impression! This means suppliers, people seeking information, and especially current and potential customers.

Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to create a negative impression, and the most common way to do that is with poor customer service. It doesn’t matter what size or type of organization you have; there are certain things that should never happen.

  • Although it may be important to qualify potential customers for some products or services, no prospect should ever hear the words “You can’t afford it”, or similar comments. Be tactful when making a decision about such things, and remember that you may not always be able to tell based on appearances. Never allow a customer to feel that he or she isn’t worth your best effort.
  • Don’t say negative things about a previous customer. You never know who may overhear the comment, or if it will be passed on. And if you make ugly comments, the person you’re talking to will wonder if you’ll say ugly things about him.
  • Never let a customer’s comment (especially a complaint) go unanswered. Thank them for their suggestions. And always follow up on complaints. Every company will occasionally be confronted with a client that just can’t be satisfied, but often a complaint is an opportunity to build customer loyalty. If he believes you care about his concerns and that you are doing everything you can to make things right, he will usually regain a good impression.
  • If you have employees or representatives, make sure they are well trained and have proper incentives to represent your organization the way you want to be known. Nothing upsets a customer more than to go to an establishment and be treated rudely. And most non-profit and service managers will never know how many clients or supporters they lose because the person answering the phone or greeting them acts like they aren’t important. And above all – never argue with a customer!

These are just a few examples of things that can create a negative view in clients’ minds. Next time we will look at some things you can do to ensure that you Create a Positive Impression of your company. And as always, please feel free to email those questions and comments.

Vanessa Shelton is a web designer, marketing consultant and copywriter with over 20 years experience. She uses “The Right Words – The Right Way” to bring your ideas and vision to the world. With newsletters, article marketing, the website refresh, and more in her arsenal, Vanessa is ready to help small business owners and independent professionals get attention, and get results. Visit to see how Vanessa can help you.

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