Does your company view its customers as an irritant or a treasure? I was at a local office supplies store to pick up a digital camera I had ordered from its Web site. The store was very busy that day, and customers seemed a little grumpy. Knowing that customer service can be a tough job, I smiled when I approached the cashier. As I handed him the slip for my online purchase, he grunted and gave it to the “runner” to retrieve my camera. He didn't say a single word to me. Nevertheless, I tried to make small talk with him; I asked whether it was a particularly busy day. His sullen response was, “No, it's always like this.” End of conversation. I felt like I was inconveniencing him, so I didn't say anything else, took my purchase, and left. A sincere smile and a “Thank you very much for choosing to shop with us today” would have worked wonders!

What does the attitude of our customer service personnel convey to our customers about how our company views them? Our customers know how much we value them when we provide killer customer service. It is also apparent to anyone watching (and many are watching from afar these days) that it is desirable to do business with us because we take care of our customers. Additionally, the message comes through loud and clear to our employees, since the way we treat customers is often similar to the way we treat our employees. Everyone wants to be treated with courtesy, respect, and kindness. It feels good to be recognized ...

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