How to Flop at Customer Service 101

Glory Borgeson

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Class, today we will review the syllabus for this freshman level class, “How to Flop at Customer Service 101. " For today's overview, you need to understand that you are a busy person and your customer is going to have to get used to it.

This class is not a full semester class. It is designed as an abbreviated class because you can quickly learn how to be a flop.

Here are the topics we will cover in this class:

"Over-Promise, Under-Deliver"

If you sell a product, tell the customer that the product they ordered will come in on a certain date (because, deep down, you still want to please them), even though you know it is likely the product will arrive 3 days after that. You want to get the customer's hopes up.

If you sell a service, make a promise that you will do three more tasks than you actually end up doing. This sets a great expectation on the part of the customer for the work you're going to do. It is actually fun to see them come crashing down when your work is less than they expected.

Use Vague Communications

Leave it up to your customer to contact you to confirm appointments and deliveries. Never do this for them. You need to keep them guessing. You have better things to do, right?

Be as technical as possible when communicating with your customer. Use terms and phrases to confuse them. Never educate them! Keep them in the dark as much as possible. (Why would you want an educated customer? They might start asking you really good questions. )

Don't return phone calls, faxes, or e-mails in a timely manner (if at all). You don't have time for all of these communications.

If you must communicate, do all of your most important communications by telephone, not by e-mail or fax, so that there is no paper trail that others can follow. You don't want to be held to your word.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Whatever you tell your customer you are going to do, do the opposite (or at least do something different!). This is a great way to keep them on their toes. It sharpens the customer's skills at honing in on their own confusion. For example, if you tell them the product or service they are buying from you will cost $100, make certain the actual invoice is for at least $150.

If They Don't Have Pain, They Won't Have Gain

If your customers experience pain when they do business with you, they will grow as customers and be better for it.

When athletes train, they feel pain; but that is the only way they gain! Athletes gain more muscle, more coordination, more skill, and more strength for their sport, and they get there by experiencing pain through their training.

Just as athletes experience pain that leads to growth and greater strength, your customers need to experience pain when doing business with you in order to grow as individual customers.

See? You're actually doing your customers a favor by setting up painful situations for them.

In Conclusion

During this class you will learn to make it as difficult as possible for your customer to do business with you: Be unavailable, be confusing, be late, don't confirm, don't follow-up, and create pain. You're a busy person with a full schedule. You don't have extra time on your hands.

In the subsequent classes, we will study each of these areas more in-depth. Then you, too, will be a flop at customer service.


All right, enough! All kidding aside, each of these situations happened to me within one week with several businesses. Now, go out there and do the opposite of what you just read!

© 2005 Borgeson Consulting, Inc.

Glory Borgeson is a business coach and consultant, and the president of Borgeson Consulting, Inc. She specializes in helping small business owners (of 500 employees or less) to increase their Entrepreneurial IQ, which leads to increased profit and decreased stress. Whether an entrepreneur is at the top of his game like any top athletes you can think of today, or a rookie just starting his business, Glory works with the entire spectrum of entrepreneur. Top athletes have a coach; why not you?

Click here for Borgeson Consulting, Inc.

This article was originally published in The Business Express, Borgeson's free monthly ezine. You may subscribe by clicking here:



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