Recently, a business associate, Mike, mentioned that he was doing a show at a local university and stopped by the faculty dining hall to get lunch. He said that, while waiting on line, the service was poor. The line moved slowly, the counterperson was disinterested in what she was doing…and it showed. It was not a pleasant customer experience.

It was Mike’s turn to order and the counterperson continued to show her disinterest…no eye contact, moving like it pained her, and no enthusiasm in her voice. Then when she finally looked up to give Mike his food, she noticed his nametag with his name and company. She realized that Mike worked for a bank where she just opened an account. Well, she turned into another person. She was excited when telling Mike about her excellent experience at his bank. In an instant she was vibrant, alert, smiling, and alive!

The question is, “Why couldn’t she behave that way whenever she interacts with a customer?” We can ask this question whenever we interact with people in customer service situations. In many situations, the persons serving us act like they are auditioning for the role of a zombie in the movie, “Dawn of the Dead.” Whereas they can use less energy being lively and produce a great experience for everyone involved.

The reason this happens is because the customer service persons do not “check themselves” for outstanding customer service. When you “check yourself” before serving the customer, you prep yourself to give your best for the customer. When you “check yourself,” you are prepared for any customer service situation. When you “check yourself,” you make the situation positive for the customer and yourself.

The following are three ways to “check yourself” to give outstanding customer service:

1. Check your Customer Service Attitude
Make your attitude say, “I can help you today.” This means that you want to help, you want to take responsibility for the solution, and you are proactive in creating solutions for the customer. Make sure your attitude is positive for outstanding results. Keep a mirror by your desk and look into the mirror before you start a customer transaction and say the following:

* “I will help someone today.”
* “I have a great attitude.”
* “I am solution-oriented.”
* “I will make a difference today.”

2. Check your Customer Service Body Language
Make your body language show that you are eager to listen to the customer. This means standing or sitting erectly if communicating face-to-face. Sitting erect in your seat is especially important when communicating over the telephone because the customer can “hear” your apathy over the phone. Check yourself to make sure you are smiling. Check yourself to make sure your body language is showing that you want to listen. This means direct eye contact, arms uncrossed, a slight nod of acknowledgment, and, most importantly, your body facing the customer to show that you are completely “engaged” in the conversation.

3. Check your Customer Service Voice
Make sure your voice is energized and positive. This means that you do not sound monotone and your voice has vocal variety (see my article “Cat in the Hat”). Check your voice to make sure your have a lively pace without cutting off the customers before they finish their thoughts.

By just applying these three customer service techniques, you will produce happy customers, increase customer retention, master customer satisfaction, and make your job as a customer service expert so much easier.

Author's Bio: 

Ed Sykes is a much sought after author, speaker, and leading expert in the areas of customer service, leadership, motivation, stress management, and team building. You can e-mail him at, or call him at (757) 427-7032. Go to his web site,, and signup for the newsletter, OnPoint, and receive the free report, "JumpStart Your Success."