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Customer Service Article

Customer Service Starts with a Can Do Attitude: Five Secrets to Winning, Creating, and Keeping Repeat Customers


Ed Sykes

customer service, can do attitude, can do customer serviceLet me share with you the following customer service story on how you can outperform your competition and win customers every day.

On our road trips to New Jersey to facilitate a motivation program for a client, Joy and I make it a habit to order food from a particular fast food restaurant.  Although the food is not nutritious, it tastes good and is so famous that there was a movie made about the adventures of two people searching for this restaurant (Hint:  Harold and Kumar are the two main characters). 

During a recent road trip, as we approached the restaurant, we noticed that the lights were out in several of the businesses leading up to it.   Nearing the front door of the restaurant, we noticed a sign that read “Restaurant Closed Due to Power Outage.  Sorry for the Inconvenience.”  Well, we were not to be denied.  We hopped back into the car and drove up to the drive through window and tapped on it.  We asked what happened, and the restaurant employee apologized for the inconvenience and explained that a storm had come through the area and knocked out power in their business and they were in the process of bringing power back up.

We explained that we drove many miles and make it a habit to frequent their restaurant when in the area and asked if they could do anything for us.  With a smile, she turned to her co-workers to get agreement on what they could do as a team and then explained, without hesitation, shared the following: 

·         “We have one burner up and running so we can make any type of hamburger for you.  What would you like?

·         “Our shake machine is still frosty so we can give you free milk shakes, on the house, for your inconvenience”

·         “Our fryer is up so we can make fries or onion rings for you, which would you like?

We were delighted with the service as the employees quickly and cheerfully put together our order.  She could have taken a “can’t do” attitude and not answered our knocks on the window or told us they were closed. She could have used the storm damage as an excuse not to serve us.  But instead, she displayed a “can do” attitude for creating and winning customers no matter what the situation. 

Whether you work in a restaurant or office environment, serve internal or external customers, or work in an environment that expects results, the following are five essential secrets to developing a “can do” customer service attitude and creating repeat customers:

  1. Take Ownership for the Customer Service Challenge

When you are presented with the opportunity to give customer service, take ownership for creating the best solution for that situation.  Instead of saying, “It’s not my job,” say “Lets see how we can help you” or “Let me connect you with the person who can help you.”  Your responsibility for providing outstanding customer service doesn’t stop until you provide the service or the person you directed the customer to provides the service.  Take ownership for great customer service.

Note:  If you hand the customer off to another person to service them, go the extra step and follow up with the customer to make sure they received an outstanding customer service experience.

  1. Communicate That You Want to Help

Tell the customer that you want to help create the best customer service solution possible.  Say “Lets find the best solution…” or “Let me personally take care of that for you.”  This conveys that you care about the customer and their needs.  Eliminate words and phrases that might communicate to the customer that you don’t want to help such as “I can’t” or “I won’t.”  Instead say “With the resources we have today, we can do…” or simply “What we can do for you today is…”


  1. Maintain a Positive Customer Service Attitude

Great customer service starts with a great attitude for service.  Maintain an attitude that says you want to help the customer and show it.  This means maintaining a positive body language, eye contact, and smile that says you want to help.


  1. Enlist The Help of Others to Create Solutions

When providing quality service, no person is an island.  Take the time to seek others in your organization that can help you meet the needs of your customers.  Ask your associates for their opinions and how they would handle the situation.  Also, find out what other departments or organizations can offer resources to help the customer.

Note:  Remember, your team members are not mind readers, if you don’t ask for help, they won’t know how to help you. 

  1. Focus on Solutions

Focus on what you can do for the customer.  Many times the customer service situation starts with the negative:  what the person cannot do or doesn’t have the resources to do for the customer.  Instead, start with the positive:  what you can do to provide an outstanding customer service experience.  Make sure you take time to communicate to the customer the “can do” solution.

Whether you are helping your internal customers or external customers, approach the opportunity with a “can do” attitude to create a winning solution.  By starting with a “can do” attitude you will gather the resources necessary to creating satisfied, repeat customers every time. 

Suggested Reading

Five Powerful Customer Service Secrets to Growing Your Business During Challenging Times

Customer Service Secrets: Six Secrets of Outstanding Customer Satisfaction

Bad Customer Service Is Not So Funny: Five Secrets to Giving Outstanding Customer Service

Five Secrets to Showing Your Customers You Really Care: Creating Empathy

Check Yourself for Outstanding Customer Service

Leave Your "Buts" Behind for Great Customer Service

Ten Customer Service Secrets to Win Back Customers

Getting Back to Basics: A Customer Service Tale

Show Your Customers You Care


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Customer Care Workshops


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