Customer Service, Customer Service Tips, Tips For Success

Customer Service Tips: Avoiding the Most Common Mistakes of Meet and Greets

by Caug124

July 26th, 2012

The last thing you want is for your customers to get turned off in the first few moments of interacting with your company, but it unfortunately happens all the time. Making a mistake at the start of the customer service transaction can drive a customer to simply choose to take their business elsewhere.  To avoid these relationship-damaging mistakes, follow these simple customer service tips:

Customer Service Tip 1: Do Not Ignore Waiting Customers

Sometimes you are too busy with current customers to be able to help a waiting customer immediately. Even in those situations, you should never ignore a waiting customer. Establish eye contact, give a wave, or say a word or two to let the customer know that you are aware of them and will get to them as soon as you can.

Customer Service Tip 2: Avoid Getting Distraction

It is easy to become distracted by other customers, other responsibilities, and the variety of activities involved in customer service. When customers see that you are distracted, they sense that they are not your first priority.

Customer Service Tip 3: Do Not Focus on Other People While Helping Customers

It is a challenge to make every customer feels equally valued, and some customers do tend to try to push their way to the head of the line. However, don’t let these customers overstep earlier customers. Instead, say a few friendly words to the individual to indicate that you will help them when you are finished serving the current customer.

Customer Service Tip 4: Act Enthusiastic and Excited

Put some energy into your greeting and come up with something more creative than, “May I help you?”  Make it a personal challenge to say something specific to each customer. It will make the meet and greet portion of the sales process more interesting and rewarding.

For more business tips, please visit Dale Carnegie’s Tips & Advice section or explore our Dale Carnegie’s Customer Service training section.

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  1. Gary /

    Tips 1 and 2 contradict each other.

    • Shawn /

      It is an art form! The one degree difference between good and Great!

      • Moi /

        I agree.

    • Rebecca P. /

      Not really Gary, it is not a “distraction” to say to a waiting client, “I’ll be with you as soon as I can…” A “distraction would be if client number two, then said to you, well, I just have this little question that’ll only take a minute to handle.” And you allow them to derail your service to the first client.

      • Thomas /

        Rebecca P your hotness is distracting lol j/k :) I think customer service workers shouldn’t be distracted by rude people. there is a saying the customer is always right in some cases that’s not true. also you get more honey than lemons my grand ma use to say something like that lol Have a Awesome day Rebecca :)

    • Thomas /

      Actually if you tell a second customer that you will be with them as soon as you finish with the customer you are currently helping it reinforces #2 while applying #1.

  2. Ed /

    The difference is “do not” versus “avoid.” If I’m meeting with a new customer and another new customer walks in to the business, I say “I’ll be right with you” or I have someone else greet the new customer. And then I return my focus to the customer I am meeting with.

  3. AJ! Clonts /

    “Avoid getting distracted”……..

    • Anu E /

      I can’t believe you were the first one to point this out. I expected that to be the first comment here. “Avoid getting distraction???” Tip # 1, spell check!!!

  4. JES, Stafford, VA /

    The “tips” cited are all valid. They also fall under the category of common courtesy, an increasingly lack of which has invaded our society.

  5. Pecker556 /

    recently i was at the local gander mountain to purchase two (2) 1895 nagant revolvers, if they had two, they had one on display and i told the sales rep that i wanted 2, ( so i demonstrated my value as a client ealry that i was willing to spend a larger than normal amount of money there) and as he is looking in the database to see if they have a 2nd revolver for me to purchase, some chump in basketball shorts, a cutoff shirt and backwards baseball cap, walks up to the counter, with out respect to myself or the sales rep and blurts out: “hey you got surefire batteries?” the sales rep stops what hes doing, gets up and escorts this chump to the aisle with the batteries in it. I was pissed; #1 at the chump himself, and #2 at the sales rep for casting me and my plan to spend a couple hundred dollars aside to help someone find batteries. once he returned I blew up on him. boy did he shrink to almost nothing. same with his manager. I almost felt bad about my atitude, but dammit, im the consumer fuck them. Up until that point I was polite, considerate of others, and waiting my turn. and Taht all got me fucked over in Gander Mountain. I have no desire to act like the chump in my story, but refuse to be treated as a chump myself because of others. Thanks for listening.

    • Anonymous /

      Having worked in an intense customer service retail job for the last 5 years, and restaurant service for 11 years – all I can say is this:

      It is hard not to strongly dislike customers who butt into a customer/sales-associate conversation. It’s even harder not to dislike (and even hate) customers who blow a situation such as the one you were involved in, out of the water like you did.

      You guys have absolutely no clue what we, as the sales associate, have to go through behind the scenes just to keep our jobs, sometimes. Here we are, serving you guys – the consumer – as pleasantly, politely, and swiftly as we can, while management is breathing down our necks to improve our sales, customer service, and a million other things.

      The phrase “stuck between a rock and a hard-place” is putting it mildly. I get in trouble (my job threatened) for not pitching/getting Extended Service Plans (Warranties), Credit Card applications, and various other things to customers. I get yelled at by customers for pitching said things – and the customers feel justified in doing so.

      I get scolded when a customer complains or walks out because I didn’t get to them fast enough – and I get attitude from customers who don’t feel like I’m getting to them quickly enough. Who cares that I have 5 other people in my department vying for my attention at the same time. I get in trouble for asking a customer a “yes” or “no” question, such as “Is there anything I can help you find?”. I have to ask questions that force answers such as: “What brings you in today?” I get in trouble for pointing a customer in the direction of a particular product. I have to walk the customer over to the product they’re searching for, and then assist them in finding whatever else they happen to have on their list, that day.

      At the same time, I am expected to earn x-amount in sales. I’m expected to complete my punch-list for the day (which, in and of itself is often times a full-shift of constant work) – and I’m expected to do this with a smile on my face and an eager and helpful attitude while dealing with the crap that customers feel they have the right to throw at me because this “one” thing inconveniences them.

      I am, by nature, a polite person, and I take a ton of crap without flinching. But, when I hear customers such as yourself admit to treating an employee with such disregard because of “this” or “that” – it boils my blood. There was a better of way of dealing with that situation, and ripping the employee’s head off was not it.

      Certainly, the employee could’ve handled the situation better by asking the first customer to wait, or by having another associate help. But, you could’ve conducted yourself with much better (and respectable) behavior by calmly mentioning your frustration with the situation – instead of going off like a canon.

      People like you make people like us a lot less willing and happy to help future customers (and especially you – if we ever see you again).

      • Randy /

        Well said! 30 + years in the automobile industry doing parts, service, sales and finally GM of a group of stores so have been beat up by the beat of them. I think people are actually getting worse. I see more employee abuse buy customers today than even 10 years ago. People somehow feel it’s their right to beat you up for the slightest issue, real or not.

        • ron /

          We have kissed their butts into oblivion in the car business.. now we make no money, cant keep good people and sell less cars per month.

    • Gnarlyoldude /

      Wow, sounds like you have issues.

    • NameRebecca P. /

      First of all P556… Glad to see you letting it out… not good to keep stuff bottled up. But, on the other hand, you could have told the employee of your dismay at the situation without becoming abusive. Just saying. : )

    • maxW /

      You’ve got a pathological need to be treated as better than others, a short temper, and you’re buying two guns at a time? Grreeaat!

    • Liz /

      How dare you treat anyone that way? as a person who works retail I shudder to even fathom how that associate felt not only to have you yell at them over something so petty but then to have their manager lay into them after you left. No person, no matter how much money they are going to spend in a store, is more important than the safety and sanity of any associate. Had I been the manager at that time I would have kindly asked you to vacate the premises on that fact alone. Also if that associate were your child, grandchild, or significant other would you want someone talking to them in that manner? I doubt it. Sorry to break it to you but sales associates are humans, we make mistakes and aren’t perfect. If you treat us with respect (respect we deserve) we are more than willing to bend over backwards in order to meet your needs and fix what we messed up on to begin with. Treat us or our co-workers horribly you had better believe that the next time you come in no one will bend over backwards to help you.

    • Roger /

      Well aren’t you just more special and more inconvenienced than the rest of the world? Instead of whining, why didn’t you just shoot the guy? You would have been arrested and we would have been spared your self-important rant.

    • concerned /

      I think you shouldn’t buy revolvers. Buy something else that, with your personality, won’t get you in trouble.

  6. Shellback /

    Learn correct grammar – it is NOT “Avoid Getting Distraction” – it is either “avoid Distractions” or “Avoid Getting Distracted”

    • Benji /

      Rule number one when correcting someone else: You better be letter perfect doing it or you look like a chump. Anyone who knows anything about our written language should know better than to write a clause beginning with a lowercase word followed by an uppercase word. Last time I checked we don’t read from right to left. So if Ed’s tip distracted you, I’d recommend you simply “avoid Distraction” (sic) and take your pretentiousness somewhere else.

      • NameAnu E /

        I read and re-read your comment a few times trying to find an error but there was none, so you get a pass on that. However, calling someone pretentious for correcting an obvious error and having a very minor (lowercase “a” in avoid) mistake is a jerk move, so you get a fail on that. Or is that being too pretentious for you?

  7. Wayne /

    P556; I can completely understand your irritation. Chances are the clerk was in his first job. Most clerks have never thought through what being polite to a customer means. While I think “blowing up” on him was a bit over the top, I do think an intense (a bit heated) explanation of what you just experienced was in order. He didn’t see that he had been rude to you, he was only trying to not be rude to the dummy that came in. Like many of the people reading this thread (and likely the author of this article), he thought that when a customer asks you a question you have to answer or you’re being rude – wrong. You only need to respond. In this case a response of, “I’ll be with you as soon as I’m finish with this gentleman” was the correct one.

    Don’t feel too bad for the clerk. If he learned a lesson from this he’ll never forget it. If he didn’t learn a lesson it’ll encourage him to find another profession more suitable for his skill set, like being a clerk for the DMV or some other government bureaucracy where customer service isn’t required. “We’re with the government. We don’t have to care.”

  8. LJ /

    It irritates me to no end when an employee carries on a nonstop conversation with another employee while “supposedly” waiting on me. This seems to happen more and more frequently these days. You come up to the register, and they either do not greet you at all or barely utter a cursory greeting, while talking to their fellow employee, they ring up your purchase(s), spit out the amount you owe, all while continuing their conversation, hand you your receipt, and KEEP TALKING! Not only poor customer service, but just plain bad manners.

    But my FIRST issue is this: I wait in line, and wait, and wait, and finally another register opens up, and all the people in the back of the line run over to the newly opened register. Some stores make sure the cashier says, “I can take the next person in line over here,” which is the way it should be. But not all. And K-Mart in my area is the worst about this. I was in a very long line (with a very slow cashier) and they opened up another TWO registers finally. I couldn’t maneuver out of my line easily, so I stood helplessly while people in the back of the line, and people who were just coming up to the lines, ran over to those registers. Before I even got up to the register, I saw people leaving the store with their purchases who had WALKED INTO THE STORE while I was in the checkout line! Not the way to do your customers. That’s happened multiple times to me in that store, and I have stopped shopping there.

    • jo /

      shop local big box stores no customer service 8 months pregnant big no help loading 50 pound water soft into truck local no problem offered to big box 1 hour waiting for help with attitude

  9. NameNameNameName /

    Enter comment here

  10. jon /

    I was explicitly taught the first of these 43 years ago on my first job at Friendly Ice Cream. Good practice, rarely followed.

  11. Yorktown /

    Don’t post about them on Social Media.

  12. janesauric /

    Focus on #1, while not ignoring #2, don’t be distracted by #2, but don’t ignore him, either and all the while be enthusiastic. I quit.

  13. Richard Wilson /

    Should we perhaps also avoid “getting distraction” while proofreading articles we are about to publish?

  14. Ann /

    Lame article…