An A to Z Customer Service Checklist From the Frontline

By Doug Sandler, “Nice Guys Finish First”

Frontline customer service today must go way beyond satisfactory. When describing your frontline, have they earned words like awesome, incredible, wow, exceeding expectation, and excellent? The key to building winning relationships, generating business over and over again and creating raving customers will often come down to how your customer is being treated by your frontline.

Without customers, your business would go bust. What may not be as obvious, however, is what your customers are expecting when they walk in your “door.” Whether your business is online or big box, if you are not scoring an A+ grade for frontline service, it’s time to go back to school and learn the A to Z’s of frontline customer service.

See if you score high marks on the A to Z’s of frontline customer service:

Action: When your customer needs you, they need you now. Do not delay, take action now. One of the biggest issues customers have with service is an inability to reach anyone when they have a question or problem.

Be Extraordinary: Anyone can be average and forgotten, but extraordinary will be remembered forever. Teach your frontline to be extraordinary.

Customize: Tailor make the experience to fit your customer. Make them feel special.

Disruptive: Do things differently than your competition or others in the industry. Allow frontline to be ultra creative and make the customer experience extra special.

Empower: When your frontline is empowered to make decisions you will have happier customers and happier employees.

Flexible: Make your policies flexible enough so rules can be changed or adjustments can be made to make your customer happy.

Generous: To often customers feel like they are being rushed. Make sure your frontline is generous with their time, information and experience. It may be an everyday job for your frontline, but it’s a new experience for your customer.

Honest: In order for your customers to come back again and again, they need to trust you. Your frontline needs to be honest, trustworthy and reliable.

Invest: Your best resource is your people. Invest in training your frontline properly and giving them the tools they need to do their job well.

Joyful: It is within the power of the frontline to create a remarkable experience that is pleasurable, happy and enjoyable for each and every customer they come in contact with.

Knowledge: Provide the proper resources to your frontline so that they can answer questions from your customers quickly and accurately.

Love: You want each step along the customer journey to say, “We LOVE our customers.”

Memorable: You want your customer to remember who you are and one of the best ways to do that is to deliver exceptional service, exceeding your customer’s expectations.

Nice: Being nice should be at the foundation of every customer contact with your frontline. The power of nice will provide an opportunity for your frontline to build a relationship with your customers.

Opportunity: Train your frontline to look for an opportunity to go above and beyond. It’s moments like these that will set your company apart from your competition.

Patience: Allow plenty of time for your customer to state their problem, tell their story or explain their situation. What they are actually doing is helping you discover exactly what they want.

Quiet: Sometimes the best thing to do is listen. Train your frontline to listen more and speak less. Ask plenty of questions and listen to all of the answers your customer is providing.

Relationship: People to business with people. They want to like you and know that you understand them.

Shine: Don’t see problems, see opportunities to shine. Mistakes are bound to happen, it’s what happens next that really counts. Your frontline should be poised to shine.

Time Management: Frontline is usually responsible for more than just “greeting” the customer. Make sure you provide proper time management training for your frontline, to allow them an opportunity to take notes, send email, answer phones, contact coworkers and anything else they are expected to do in addition to being frontline.

User Friendly: Put your customer in the center of the experience. Make it easy for your customer and your frontline to get things done including answering questions, navigating your site, browsing your store or getting support.

Value: Your company’s worth is determined in part by the value of your frontline. Your frontline’s value is exactly what you put into it. Invest little in your frontline and you will get little in return. Invest heavily in your frontline and watch the dividends it pays.

Welcome: Make your customer feel welcome in your business. Is your website easy to navigate, is your store easy to get around and do new and returning customers feel comfortable and welcome?

X Factor: What is it exactly that will allow your frontline to shine? Each person on the frontline has an X factor. It might be humor, speed, brain power or something else. Train your frontline to use their X factor to improve the customized and unique customer experience.

Yes: Customers love to hear the word, “YES!” Train your frontline about the power of saying, “Yes!”

Zealous: Don’t be a hater. If you are not 100% happy with your frontline, do everything in your power to retrain them until they exceed your expectations. Be devoted to making change as if your business depends on it, because it does.