Madison Title Agency | Madison 1031 | LeaseProbe/Real Diligence | Madison SPECS

Monday Mornings with Madison


  • Ever placed an order and found that it was not ready when it was supposed to be? 
  • Ever asked about a product or service and found that the salesperson did not know the answer? 
  • Ever called a place of business at numerous different times of the day and got voice mail every time? 

As the saying goes, “You never get bitten by an elephant.  It’s the mosquitoes that eat you alive.” Unmotivated staff demonstrating careless, thoughtless behavior can kill a business.  And even the most well-intentioned employee can unwittingly slight a customer. 

A motivated staff is the most cost-effective way to stand out from the competition while avoiding costly price wars for any product or service. Many no-cost and low-cost staff behaviors can make all the difference in how a customer feels about your company.  As the saying goes, ‘the devil is in the details.’

Just as a cultural group has commonly recognized rules of etiquette, a company should have specific behaviors that constitute “good manners” – with each other and with customers.  If everyone in your company agrees to propose and abide by the specific  “Rules of Conduct,” then each employee knows what is expected and can feel it is appropriate to speak up when a co-worker, including the owner or manager, is not abiding by them or is demonstrating outstanding customer service.

Work with your staff to develop the Rules of Conduct, but here are a few suggestions:

1.  See and Smile
Customers should be greeted with eye contact and a warm smile as he/she enters the door.  Hopefully your staff feels comfortable in their ability to smile as a gracious gesture of welcome.  

2.  Gracious Greeting
Don’t leave the greeting to chance.  Consider various phrases that are fitting for your company.  Discuss what feels comfortable to say to demonstrate a desire to assist.  There is a fine line between greeting and overwhelming customers. Avoid opening phrases that are vague and not related to the reason for doing business.

3. Phone Friendliness
The four most frequent complaints about speaking to a business on the phone are:

  • Speak too fast
  • Do not enunciate
  • Do not care
  • Do not try to solve the problem but just answer the questions asked.

Agree on the exact greeting and tone of voice for answering the phone.  Some may resist spending time on this, but the “faceless” voice over the phone is often the one that makes the first impression.  You may simply agree to say warmly and clearly, without speed talking, “Name of your company”). (Person's name) speaking. How may I help you?” Have staff practice clarity, warmth, loudness, tone and rate.  Then have them work to genuinely help the customer with his/her needs.

4. Honor The Order
Help people in the order that they have asked for help.  If one customer interrupts you while you are serving another customer, be especially warm as you turn to the “interrupter” and say, “I look forward to helping you right after I’m finished assisting this customer.  Thank you.” 

5. Be Their Go-to Expert
Become your customers’ top-of-mind subject matter expert. Ask customers if they would like some suggestions for their particular situation.  If they would like such assistance, ask sufficient questions so that you know something about their needs for the situation. Understanding the big picture of how the customer sees their situation helps you advise them more specifically and thoughtfully. 

Create your company’s Rules of Conduct and then watch your employees as they smile and service their way into your customers’ hearts.  It is the surest way to get repeat business.  It is also the easiest way to differentiate your company from the competition… and the best way too.


"Courteous treatment will make a customer a walking advertisement."
James Cash Penney, department store magnate

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