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Here’s a recap of the steps so far providing exceptional customer service:

1. Manage customer expectations in advance of your customer making a purchase. It will reduce customer upsets substantially.

2. When a customer  expresses an issue, actively listen by recapping what they have said and address their feelings.

3. Listen to the entire story following the active listening process.

Once you have actively listened to the customer (see Part 2) then you and the customer will become calmer and more open to a solution.

It is important that you allow the customer to tell his or her entire story. In most cases the problem will have occurred because the customers expectation were not met. This is where the mending needs to take place. In Part 1 of this tip, I addressed managing expectations.

When a customer expresses upset or discontent, the way they express themselves maybe alarming on receiving end. As a result what they are saying could be difficult to process.

If you are on the receiving end of an upset customer, the first thing to do is actively listen to the customer’s concerns without interrupting. They need to express themselves fully to feel heard. The listening is a powerful tool for both the customer and the person who is hearing about the issue.

Active listening involves sharing what you’ve heard without adding your own story or becoming defensive. What is important is that when you repeat it back to the customer and include a feeling guess.

Since we are perfectly imperfect as human beings, even if you are a rock star in the area of customer service, you will make mistakes. You will have upset customers from time to time. Sometimes it won’t be because of an error you made. It will be because your customer’s expectations are different than yours.

One of the biggest mistakes business owners and their employees make is not setting up strategies to communicate and manage your customer’s expectation before, during and after a purchase is made.

This spring, Women's Enterprise Centre will be supporting women entrepreneurs at learning and networking events at home and abroad. There are opportunities to learn more about Supplier Diversity and how to leverage your certification and we'd like to help you make valuable connections.

Breakfast with Brands, May 14th, Vancouver

Part one of my blog explained some international trade terms. This blog explains a few more terms used in export and import.

HS code: It stands for Harmonized System code. HS code is maintained by the World Customs Organization (WCO), an independent intergovernmental organization with over 160 member countries, based in Brussels, Belgium.