Customer service is key when looking to gain and maintain customers. If a company fails to provide the customer service a client feels he or she deserves, the client will seek business elsewhere.

David Dee, customer service expert and author, says that customers know when there's no genuine commitment to service that has been promised. Dee explains, "Behind every company policy and procedure, behind every decision, someone--everyone--has to be asking, 'Is this good for the customer? Is that what our customer wants?'"

Dee offers some suggestions for improving customer service:

  • Pay attention to customers who leave. To improve your business and keep other customers from leaving, ask unhappy customers what you have done wrong and how to improve.
  • Talk about what works. After praising a customer service representative for a job well done, discuss what went right and why, so the whole department benefits from the experience.
  • Learn what not to say to customers. Show reps how to improve communication with customers by avoiding words and phrases that turn customers off.
  • Generate positive word-of-mouth advertising. There is nothing like the endorsement of a happy customer.
  • Make a top 10 customer service quality checklist. Hire the best candidates for the customer service position.
  • Start a cost of poor service worksheet. Calculate how much your company can lose because of poor service.