How to: Get Good Customer Service
Tuesday, February 2, 2010






By Vanessa Raymond,

Everyone likes to receive good customer service. If you can apply your emotional intelligence within the marketplace, you'll receive quality customer service almost every time.
First and foremost, remember that you set the tone. When you are greeted with a grunt (or worse) from a surly teenager manning the counter, how do you respond? Always treat others as you would like to be treated, and especially when you are not being treated well.
Be clear about your expectations. Communicate your expectations in a clear and concise manner from the start. This way, the person providing the service knows exactly what you want.
Don't take mistakes personally. Mistakes happen. You'll order your fried rice without tomatoes or your pizza crust extra crispy, and the server will mess your order up. Don't sweat the small stuff.
Speak up if something goes wrong. If things are not going as you expected, let the appropriate person know. Sometimes people wait too long to address a problem so that by the time they finally do, they have built up a degree of anger that is out of kilter with the offense. That's when you'll end up seeming like a jerk for a complaint that (at one point in time, anyway) was legitimate.
Never lose your temper or your patience. No one likes to give good service to someone who is condescending, rude, impatient or just downright mean. And even if a server attempts to push your buttons, don't let him. Remember that it takes two to tangle.
Treat your server as an equal. Look him in the eye. Speak to him, not at him. If you are on a cell phone call, finish the call before expecting to receive help. Hand your money to the server instead of placing it on the counter. Ask your server's name_he has one!_and remember it. Use words like "please" and "thank you." Be genuine, personable and polite. Treat your server as you would like to be treated if you held his position and you will be amazed at the kind of service you receive.
Treat other customers as equals. Annoyed customers become the server's problem, too, so do your best to maintain friendly relations with everyone in the immediate vicinity, even if the service is slow, the waiting room is 90 degrees, and you really have to go to the bathroom.
And last but certainly not least, tip well and tip often. If you've ever worked in a service job, you know just how much tipping matters. Customer service jobs are not easy, nor do they tend to be all that lucrative. By treating people with respect and dignity, you are already a step ahead. If on top of your good manners, you've been tipping well, too, then the table by the window is yours!
For more info on this or explanations of how to do many other things, go to

Vanessa Raymond is a senior editor at For related How-To articles, go to
(c) 2008, How To Do Things Inc. (

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.



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