By Bryan Orr

There’s this thing about customer service that makes it difficult to always be awesome at it: You can’t control other people’s reactions and emotions. Because you can only control how you respond to problems and issues, you have to focus on the areas that you can change. These four habits will help you not only create great customer service experiences, but also customers for life.

1. Slow Down

Allow your employees to take time with each customer and situation. The better they understand their customer and job, the better experience your customer will have. Encourage your employees to walk onto a job site (or enter a phone conversation) with a calm state of mind. Feel out the situation. Pay attention. Listen more and talk less.

Come up with a simple act of service that will stand out to the customer. For every new customer, give a thank you note with a $10 gift card. In the trades/service field, always wear shoe covers in the customer’s home. Whatever you choose, details like these speak volumes to people.

2. Practice Authenticity

Surprisingly, being great at something won’t keep all of your customers happy. You can be an expert at your particular craft, but there will always be some people who aren’t satisfied with your work.

I have found that being genuine and authentic actually wins over the customer more often than anything else. Be honest and genuine about what and how you do things. If you made a mistake, be willing to explain what happened and what you plan to do about it. When a customer complains about pricing or “warranty costs,” do not hide your expenses for the situation. You and your customers both like finding people that can be trusted. Help your customers feel like they can trust you, and they will come back to you over and over.

3. Boost Employee Morale

Your employees are your company’s brand and voice. Be sure to take the time to clarify with them your expectations and how much you appreciate all the effort they put in at the workplace. Building positive team morale will spill over into the experience they give your customers.

When team members feel they are needed and appreciated, they serve each customer with a better attitude. If the employees are happy with the company they work for, the customer is likely to take notice and value the company and the service provided them.

4. Keep Your Word

When you tell a customer you’re going to be there at 10:00 a.m., be there at 10:00 a.m. If you can’t make specific times, give a window of time. If you miss that window of time due to something that went awry on the schedule, apologize (without blaming it on another customer or situation) and automatically give them a discount or credit of some sort. This shows that you genuinely value them and will help you get back on the right foot with the customer after their irritation of being inconvenienced.

There’s no perfect formula to making every customer happy. The sooner you realize that the better, because in trying to please all, we often make a mess of both our own emotional state and our business’s profitability; but we can implement positive changes and continue to add value to our customers’ experiences and our company brand.

What is one thing you will start to implement that will create great customer service?