Expert Chip Bell Reveals Secrets to Getting Really Great Customer Service During the Holidays

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Bell, a customer loyalty consultant, renowned keynote speaker and author of several national bestselling books on customer loyalty, offers proven tips for getting really great customer service in spite of the hustle and bustle.

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Chip Bell, Author and Expert

Take charge of elevating the encounter from “pretty good” to “I wouldn’t go anywhere else.

Whether you are hunting for the season’s hottest must-have gadget on Black Friday or preparing for the grand family feast, the holidays bring a whirlwind of activities and stress. The stress, felt by consumers and employees alike, doesn’t have to hinder your customer service when shopping, according to expert Chip Bell.

Bell, a customer loyalty consultant, renowned keynote speaker and author of several national bestselling books on customer loyalty, offers proven tips for getting really great customer service in spite of the hustle and bustle.

“Great customer service is not an accident. Those who are served well follow a deliberate recipe that turns even a cold initial encounter into a warm and delightful experience,” says Bell.

1. Check Your Pessimism at the Door

Enter the service encounter with the expectation that greatness is about to happen and that it should happen to you. Visualize being served well. Then, let your positive attitude and confident expectation come from that terrific mental picture. Avoid making demands. Instead, put your energy into creating a lighthearted connection.

2. Carefully Manage the First Ten Seconds

The first ten seconds are vital to shaping the reception you are likely to get. Aim your eyes and best “Steinway” smile at the service provider. Then deliver a greeting that loudly proclaims, “We are about to have some unbelievable festivity here. And you’re invited!” Optimism and joy are generally infectious.

3. Help the Service Provider Give You Greatness

Most service people are really eager to give great service. Sometimes barriers make it difficult. Be a willing helper in clearing barriers away. If the barrier is a foul mood, try a quick tease or sincere compliment to turn sour into sunny. If the barrier is a silly policy, offer a creative suggestion that helps you get what you want without putting the service person at risk.

4. Always Lace Your Encounters with Respect

No matter how determined a server seems to provide only the absolute bare minimum, treat the server with respect. Sometimes a “no” is an unshakable “no!” Be assertive but never pushy or aggressive. Always use your best manners—“please,” “sirs” and “thank you’s.” Remember: a chilly initial reception will generally thaw if you are persistent in your cheerfulness.

5. Invite the Service Provider to Join Your Adventure

Use a playful style that lets the server permit him or herself to be a bit mischievous. Instead of announcing: “I’d like a no-smoking table with a view,” try instead: “We’d love to get the table you’d want if this was your special night. I know you can get us just the right spot.” If you help make service delivery feel fun, you’ll have servers wanting to join you on the playground!

6. Be Generous and Thoughtful

Never view a service encounter as a single transaction but rather the start of an important relationship. Assume you’ll be back and be generous in expressing your gratitude for great service. Praise service people to their superiors. Express your compliments to great service providers with a follow-up note or call. The next time you return, you’ll get their red carpet best!

Bell says to not wait for great service to come to you. “Take charge of elevating the encounter from “pretty good” to “I wouldn’t go anywhere else.” Servers like great customers just as much as customers like great servers. Serve from your heart and you will be served in the same fashion.”

Chip R. Bell is a customer loyalty consultant, renowned keynote speaker and author of several national bestselling books on customer loyalty. His newest book is The 9 ½ Principles of Innovative Service. He can be reached at http://www.chipbell.com.

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