Excellent customer service creates loyal customers for who are willing to refer your business to family, friends and colleagues. Providing this type of excellent customer service starts with a genuine desire to delight your customers, but you also have to think beyond selling your products or services.

You need to consider the cumulative experience your customers have when they visit your company or website, what they think and feel, and what you can do to make it better. You basically have to put yourself in their proverbial shoes.

To develop and excellent customer service, here are 9 steps or tips to succinctly follow:

  1. Know your product or service

To provide good customer service, you need to know what you are selling, inside and out. Understand your product or service. Try selling it back to yourself. Make sure you and your customer-facing staff know your product or service works, the kinks and works. Be aware of the most common questions customers ask and have articulate answers ready at the drop of a hat to leave them well satisfied.

  • Be Friendly

Customer service starts with a smile. When you are in a face-to-face situation with a customer, a warm greeting should be the first thing your customers receive when they ask for help. Even when handling customer service requests via telephone, a smile can come through in your voice, so make sure you are ready to be friendly. Leave your personal problems out of the customers’ space and be warm.

  • Say Please and Thank You

Politeness and gratitude is memorable, and it can remind your customers why they shopped at your store, prefers your company’s product or service. Regardless of the type of business you run, saying please when necessary and thank you after every transaction is one of the easiest ways to start a habit of good customer service.

  • Train your Staff

It’s important to ensure all of your employees, not just your customer service representatives, understand the way they should talk to, interact with, and otherwise assist customers. Provide employee training that gives your staff the knowledge and tools they need to carry good service through the entire customer experience.

  • Show Respect

Customer service often involves emotions, so it’s very important to make sure you and others handling your customer service relations are always courteous and respectful. Never let your own emotions or reservations overtake the desire to seen your customer satisfied and walk away happy.

  • Listen

Listening is an essential tool in providing excellent customer service. It is one of the simplest secrets of customer service. It means hearing what your customers are saying out loud, as well as what they are communicating non-verbally and this is usually in the body languages and facial expressions. Watch for signs that indicate their current feeling while listening to what they are saying directly to you.

  • Be Responsive

There may be nothing worse than non-responsiveness to a customer who is trying to get help, resolve an issue, or inquire about what you are selling. It’s very important to respond quickly to all inquiries, even if it is only to say you are looking into the issue and will be back in touch. Some response is always better than none so the customer doesn’t feel ignored or unimportant.

  • Ask for Feedback.

No communication is complete without feedback or response. You may be surprised what you learn about your customers and their needs when you ask them what they think of your business, products, and services. You can use customer surveys, feedback forms, and questionnaires, but you also can make it a common practice to ask customers first-hand for feedback when they are completing their orders. First-hand feedback is usually faster and easier.

  • Use Feedback You Receive

You need to do something with the feedback you receive from your customers in order to make it useful in your customer service process, as that is the essence of asking them for it. Take time to regularly review feedback, identify areas for improvement, and make specific changes in your business.

Excellent customer service often comes down to consistently checking in with your customers and making sure they are happy with the products and services you are selling and the process of purchasing, ordering, working with you.

If you follow these steps successfully, you are on your way to becoming known for providing excellent customer service just like Amazon.