Despite low levels of inflation and unemployment, most Americans still consider themselves living in an economic recession, and with good reason. High-paying, secure jobs with benefits have been replaced by low-paying, uncertain jobs with little or no benefits, leaving people with little money to spread around even as prices remain stable. In this financial climate, the average consumer is buying what they need to get by and little else. Clearly, it’s not the best environment for attracting paying customers to your business.

But despite these obstacles, you can still attract and retain paying customers in the current consumer landscape. How? By using 6.5 steps drawn from my Fresh Customer Service methodology that I developed over years of working in customer-oriented settings, starting as a child handyman. Fresh Customer Service brought me from childhood poverty to exponential success as an executive with several major companies and now as a motivational speaker and career coach. Let’s examine how you can start using Fresh Customer Service today to draw in customers.

Step 1. Make Your Customer Number Two. Since most customer service strategies are partially or wholly based on making the customer number one, then obviously customer service levels must be at an all-time high, right? Everywhere you go, people are raving about how great their daily customer service experiences are, and customer satisfaction polls back this affirmation up with hard data.

I’ll give you a moment to stop laughing before I continue. Hopefully you didn’t snort any of your morning coffee out your nose. We all realize that in far too many cases, the one word that best sums up the state of customer service today is “disaster.” Yet especially in an era where prices have already been slashed, customer service is more important than ever as a competitive differentiator.

The key to running a successful operation is believing and practicing the concept that customers should always come second—employees matter more in the immediate sense and should therefore come first. After all, happy employees unleash their enthusiasm and passion from within, and that passion is contagious. It infects everyone around them, including customers.

And happy employees naturally provide superior customer service. They smile. So thank your employees every day, let them be involved in the planning of the work affecting them, and treat them with the utmost respect and courtesy. Even in times when consumers are looking to do things quickly and cheaply, they will notice… and come back for more!


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