Look at me. Everyone knows how important eye contact is in transactions, but I see it fading away. The computer screen just seems so much more fascinating than those of us waiting to get served. A cashier at CVS yesterday kept four of us on hold for 20 minutes while she worked out her problems with "the system," never even glancing at any of us.
Respect our time. People hate dealing with the cable and dish companies primarily because they say they'll come to deal with the problem "tomorrow," effectively chaining us in one place for a full day. Appointments would be better ... and keeping them would be best. (Are you listening, doctors? We're told to show up 15 minutes in advance, but you don't show for 40 more.)
Get the website working properly! I'm willing to try to resolve my problem online ... but a site that takes me in circles or is junked up with meaningless bells and whistles doesn't help.
"Listen carefully, as our menu has changed." As if I believe that. OK, I'll play the phone menu game, as long as you give me a "none of the above" option ... you know, talking to a real person?
Contact us. That's what it says on your website, and we do. But please, return those phone calls and emails. I've learned in the Turks and Caicos to never leave a message at any business because no one will call you, ever. (Yet I'm always seeing people on phones!) But I have also been surprised at exceptions. One time when I called Islandcom about a problem, the agent said she'd take my number and call me right back so that I wouldn't be paying for any wait during the call. And she did!
Customers first. This week I had an excellent experience at Ferguson Xpress, a local shop for plumbing supplies, because the guy didn't want to sell me the part I needed for my faucet. He wasn't quite sure it was the right part, you see, and he knew I would be taking it to TCI. "I'd hate for you to get it all the way there and find out it's wrong," he said. Instead, he instructed me to contact the manufacturer and send in the photo I'd taken of the faucet. It turned out that it was the right part, but Moen is sending it to me for free, so he also saved me money. Good experiences all around, because someone realizes that goodwill is on an even par with profit.
Be truly helpful. I guess that's what it all comes to. Customer service can be very simple, if we make sure that systems, rules and technology don't get in the way.