Customer - Top Tips - Managing customer service

Managing customer service



This document is designed as a quick reference guide to Managing Customer


This will enable you to gain knowledge of a particular skill, task or process.

This means you can quickly find the key information that you need and refer to it on an ongoing basis whenever you need to refresh your knowledge.



As a manager you will set the standard of customer service for the TEAM, and your team will take their lead from you, not just by what you tell them, but by the example you set them. This may be with paying customers on the shop floor, a customer complaint, or an internal customer such as a colleague in another store, a distribution centre, or head office. Ask yourself: Can you act as a role model for your team all the time? Do you show the values of honesty and integrity to inspire your team?

In the remainder of this document are some questions you may care to ask yourself about your business area, which could lead to improvements in the level of service you and your team can offer, and some ideas to improve customer service.

Customer - Top Tips - Managing customer service

What you need to know

Customer contact

Do you ever ring a customer who has made a purchase – especially a large or complicated one – to see how they are getting on with the product? Do you ever follow up lost sales, to see if the customer has managed to satisfy their needs elsewhere?

Do you even ask the customer for a contact number? Would you call a regular, known customer when a new product comes in that you believe may be of interest to them?

Do you keep in regular contact with your business customers? (Bear in mind that if a customer has indicated they prefer not to receive mail or further contact, this would be in breach of data protection laws, so put these ideas into practise with discretion).

Could you carry out exit interviews with customers, asking questions like?


     Did they find what they wanted?

     What did they think of the store?

     How would they improve the service?









Do you look for the service angle when you carry out competitor checks? For example:


     What do they do that you donÕt, but could?

     Do their customers seem happy with the service offered?


Do you seek and act on feedback from customers and visitors? ItÕs natural to be defensive, but consider it as an insight into your business you wouldnÕt otherwise have got.

Do you answer or acknowledge customer letters, or just pass them on for someone else to deal with? When you do this yourself, make sure you get their name and other details right – itÕs guaranteed to upset if you donÕt.

What is your policy on answering the phone – how many rings do you allow?

It could be someone wanting to spend money with you!



What is retail theatre? Consider how much more interesting it is to watch a cocktail being mixed in front of you than to receive it ready-made, or to receive silver service in a restaurant rather than have the meal ready on the plate.


When you have the basics right, a touch of theatre can make the critical difference; a customer may then chose to shop with you because they enjoy it, and you make spending their money easier and more pleasant.

Our stores are full of shiny exciting ŌtoysÕ, and we need to exploit that advantage to its fullest, by keeping them demo-ready, and being prepared to demonstrate them and let our customers try them out.


You may be able to WOW! them by, for example:


     Showing the impact of a new Driver on how far they can hit the ball and how their consistency of the tee can improve


     Showing them that having the correct gaping on their wedges can reduce their handicap


     Using the correct ball can save them shots and give them more control


Systems and rules

Do the store or company systems and rules help or hinder your attempts to provide good customer service? If you are in doubt, think back to when you last heard a member of your team say ŌI canÕt do that because the system wonÕt let meÕ or similar. If that is the case, did you do anything about it, maybe escalate the matter to your line manager? If you can show the effect that system or procedure inflexibility is having on sales or margin, and make a good case for improvement, there is a good chance that the procedures or rules will be changed.


Do you allow your team to give good service? Do they need to refer every small variation from standard procedure to you, or do you allow them to use their initiative to offer better service? Often this will not be the same as Ōmaking a dealÕ, and will actually save the company money.


Do you allow your team to bend the rules or guidelines they are given? For example if a customer asks you to post goods to them and to pay by credit card, would you do this? There are security considerations of course, but look at each case on its merits. Remember too, that many policies are guidelines, not rigid rules.


Customer - Top Tips - Managing customer service

What you need to know

Your team


Do you offer an appropriate level of service to your team? The level of customer service they show will rarely exceed the level they receive from you and the company.


Do you have a mission statement relating to customer service, and if so, do your team know it and how it applies to them? Do you live and breathe the values it promotes, and does your team?

Do you keep people informed – your team as well as customers? Do you have some kind of diary or communications log in place for this or does it rely on peopleÕs memory and word of mouth?


Do you reward good feedback or customer letters of praise to your business area or team, about the service they offer? Even a simple ŌThank YouÕ can be highly motivating.


Do you waste resources trying to outdo other areas in the group, or worse, in the same business? Are you promoting a culture that rewards pointless competition rather than co-operation, and plays down customer service?


Do you ever stop to discuss with your team what you want customer service to look and sound like?

Finally, having read this, how will you use it to improve the level of Customer Service?