4 Do’s and 1 Don’t for Amazing Customer Service!

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4 Do’s and 1 Don’t for Amazing Customer Service!


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This video is jam-packed with tips and tricks designed to help you surprise & delight your customers with knock-your-socks-off customer service while SAVING YOU TIME and a lot of stress! Tune in for my 4 Do’s and 1 Don’t for Amazing Customer Service!

  • 00:00 Intro
  • 00:51 Have a customer service policy or process
  • 03:21 Ask questions!
  • 04:10 Delegate your customer service
  • 05:20 Embrace good AND bad feedback
  • 09:08 Negative feedback doesn’t equal “not a fit”
  • 13:07 Put your contact info and response time everywhere people might look for it
  • 14:11 Set an out-of-office with a FAQ
  • 15:01 How and WHY to send quick replies when you don’t have time
  • 16:55 FULL WALKTHROUGH – Setting up a Boomerang follow-up system
  • 22:01 Quick review and summary


The transcript is below if you would prefer to read this yourself instead of watching the video!


Hi and welcome back or welcome to Sidekick COO. I’m Sandra B your sidekick COO and today we’re gonna talk a little bit about customer service. 

This video is actually inspired by a lot of advice that I’ve been seeing in a lot of different groups that I’m in. Where somebody has a more difficult customer that they need to respond to and often the advice that is given is kind of terrible. 

So I wanna give a quick resource to help people provide really, really great customer service. And this is just the tip of the iceberg! There’s lots of ways to hone your customer service and really surprise and delight your customers. But these are kind of like the basic tips that I would highly recommend that I see a lot of people not doing in the online business space.

Today we’re gonna be covering 4 ‘Do’s’ and 1 ‘Don’t’ for customer service. So first thing:

You DO wanna have a policy or a process that you’re going to follow

Even if it is just you doing your customer service, you’re handling everything,  you know, a solopreneur, one person show, that’s totally fine. You still wanna have some sort of even basic documentation that covers things like:

  • turnaround time
  • your first contact resolution rate that you wanna have
  • any documentation around refunds. 
    1. How do you handle that? 
    2. Do you ever make exceptions? 
    3. And what kind of cases do you make exceptions to? 
    4. What kind of alternatives can you offer to somebody? 
  • how do you handle things like people needing access to things
    1. password resets
    2. user login details and things like that?

How does that all happen? Having that all documented and the expectations laid out will really help you when you go to answer emails. You can copy and paste a lot of standard kind of template answers. Especially in regards to password resets and login details, things like that, but. also when you’re dealing with like a potentially difficult scenario, you don’t have to kind of rethink everything all the time.

So if somebody’s asking for a refund, you can kind of go to your policy and see what your guidelines are there and determine if this falls into it. I do wanna stress that even when you have a policy, I highly recommend sticking to it as much as possible, but remember that we’re all human and sometimes exceptions should probably be made in the name of humanity, compassion, and also great customer service.

These are guidelines for sure but also knowing that in certain situations it just really does make more sense to do something that’s outside of your guidelines. But the guidelines are gonna help for the 90% or 95% of the cases where it makes sense that you’re just gonna follow your guidelines as they stand. And anybody who might be doing your customer service for you will know, okay, yes, in this situation I’m allowed to do X. Or in this situation, I’m not allowed to do a refund but I am allowed to offer these types of alternatives. Things like that. 

Having that for yourself will be super handy and save you a lot of time. So do have a policy and process to follow for all of those things? The second ‘do’ is:

DO ask questions!

A lot of time I see that people are kind of afraid, especially when it seems to be a potentially difficult interaction. They’re afraid to ask questions. They’re afraid to open up the dialogue, they just want to answer it and have it be done. 

Don’t ask questions that don’t need to be asked. Sometimes we might feel a little bit on the defensive I guess and feel like we wanna ask questions just to make a point, if you’re asking a question to make a point, you’re not doing your customer service very well. The questions you want to ask are the questions that you genuinely need to know in order to clarify what’s happening so that you can come to the best possible resolution for all parties involved. So DO ask questions! The next ‘do’ is:

DO delegate!

You want to delegate your customer service as soon as possible. Especially if you are someone who finds confrontation a little bit difficult, or you are a people pleaser, or you hate saying no, or you really want people to be happy and like you. If any of that resonates with you, then you’re gonna wanna delegate your customer service to a virtual assistant or some other like type of person in order to get that off your plate because it will make your customer service way better, way easier, and more streamlined. 

It’s a win-win for everybody!

It’s really good for you because you get to distance yourself from the experience. You get to distance yourself from the issue and your customers, especially if you are the face of your business and people know you and connect with you and blah blah blah. If it’s all about you, 

they then also feel like, oh well this isn’t so and so deciding this against me. This is the policy of the company. So it really does help to build that bit of a barrier between you and the policies of the company. The fourth ‘do’ is:

DO embrace both the good and the bad

So we often have trouble where we will embrace one or the other. If somebody says something good about us, we may easily accept that because we’re awesome and we do such a great job and we, you know, we provide great customer service or our product is really superior.

Or we might say, “oh oof, I don’t know. I don’t know that that person knows what they’re talking about. I feel like you know, I’m really not that good. I don’t know”. You might actually question the good things that people are saying about you or your product or your business. So depending on your own personality, a lot of the time we will embrace (or not) “the good”. 

Same with the bad. If somebody says anything bad about us or our company or our process or our product, we’ll either say, “oh my gosh, this person is right, I need to fix it. I need to do a bunch of stuff to appease them”. Or we’ll say, “they don’t know what they’re talking about, they’re not my ideal client, I’m not even gonna bother listening to them, I’m just gonna send them on their way”. 

What we need to be doing is accepting all of the good with a grain of salt and all of the bad with a grain of salt. These are just people’s opinions. Sometimes it might be facts about things that might have happened, but it’s all their emotions and you’re really not responsible for how anybody feels. Good or bad! All you can do is take it, look at it through the lens of your business and decide what value can I learn here. What can I take away from here? Is this something that I need to action? 

If you want to, validate the information for yourself. Is this in line with what I hear from other people? Sometimes when somebody says something bad about us, if we only hear it from one person, do we need to action that? Maybe not. Look at it, evaluate it, and decide does this make sense for me and my business. And then do with it what you will. If you hear it from more than one person, then maybe the weight of it becomes a little bit more important. But also it doesn’t always necessarily mean you have to change things. 

Maybe you’ve just somehow attracted a lot of people who aren’t your ideal client or maybe yeah, there’s something that you need to fix but the key is to actually take the time. And that is something that a lot of us don’t do in so many areas of our business. We don’t take the time to step back, sit with it and evaluate it before we just jump into responding. 

So regardless of whether it’s good or bad, take a moment, take a breath and really evaluate it. 

Then decide:

  • does this ring true? 
  • Do I need to action it? 
  • Is there anything of value here for me? 
  • Any lesson I can learn, any ideas I can glean from this? 

And then choose to move forward from there. If somebody provides you with some negative feedback, a lot of the time they’ll give you advice on how to make it better. But if it doesn’t ring true, like if that advice is not good for you, you don’t have to argue that point with them. All you have to do is thank them for the advice and let them know that you’ll take it into consideration. 

Cuz you might take it into consideration. You may have already taken this into consideration and decided it’s not for you. That’s totally fine. They don’t need to know all that. Just let them know. “Thank you for the information. I’ll take it into consideration”. There’s no need to be confrontational about it.

Now then. The last thing is our ‘Don’t’.  We have our 4 ‘Do’s’ and 1 ‘Don’t’. 

So, the ‘don’t’ is:

Don’t chalk up someone’s negative feedback or negative experience with them simply being not a fit for you or your business or your product

A lot of the time I’ll see people who have someone contact them with negative feedback on a product or a service they purchased. They might be a little bit mean or maybe even slightly rude in their email. And the business owner will go into a Facebook group filled with other business owners and, they’ll quote what the person said. 

Usually, they won’t show the whole email. They’ll only quote little parts of it and then they’ll ask for advice and invariably some of the advice that that they get back, (quite often the main piece of advice that they get back) is just ignore them or tell ’em to go away. They, are just not a fit. So you know, “give them a refund and then ban them from buying your service ever again because they’re not a fit for your company, they’re just not your ideal client”. Or, “just tell them no and don’t give any explanation. They’re not your ideal client so who cares”? 

That is terrible advice. It really is. Honestly, yes, in some situations that is true that they are not your ideal client and that you know, there’s no way you could possibly appease them because they’re just that type of person or they’re just in that type of mood. 

That does happen. But you often cannot tell that by the first email. And it doesn’t mean that they are not worthy of your time. They are. It doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve a little bit of your respect and time and attention. You don’t have to give them all of your time and attention. I don’t want you to like waste days and weeks on trying to appease them but to just like brush them off in that first interaction. I don’t believe is really great customer service and I don’t think it’s the way to go.

Some of my best customer service stories have been about people who started off really upset and I just took the time to try and understand what was happening and where they were coming from and find a solution that could potentially work. A lot of the time it wasn’t a perfect solution for them, but they felt heard, and they understood that I was trying. They felt seen, they felt cared for and in the end, they were really grateful. Ended up buying a ton more from me and it ended up being a really good situation. 

Yes, for sure there are some people who it doesn’t matter what you do, you’re not gonna, not gonna make them happy. But probably 90% of the time you can at least make the person happy in some way or at least have them be in a neutral tone before they leave. It’s not great customer service to just cut somebody loose without at least trying a little bit. 

Now that’s not to say that you need to deal with abuse. If somebody is being abusive towards you, you can certainly just tell them, “sorry, we don’t accept this. We don’t work with people who are abusive and this is what we catalogue as abusive”. That is totally fine. Don’t work with somebody who, or don’t try and work with somebody who’s abusive or anything like that. 

But if somebody’s just being a little bit rude, we all have bad days, we all have days where we’re probably a little shorter with people than we normally are. And giving people the benefit of the doubt will really help you provide better customer service just in general. 

So that’s my soapbox moment for you. Just trying to be nice. 

Everybody deserves a little bit of kindness and it doesn’t cost you much to give it. 

Now I thought I’d wrap this up with a few tips for providing great customer service. One thing you can do to provide great customer service is to set the expectation as to your turnaround time and what your office hours are. 

By putting that information in the signature of your emails, in any purchase confirmation emails that you might send out. Like when somebody buys that email that you send out that says, oh thanks for buying or whatever, have that information in there for customer service hours and turnaround time. 

You can put it in your out-of-office reply so that people understand not just when you’re gonna reply to them or when you get back in the office because you’re away, but also when they can normally expect to hear from you during your general customer service hours.

If you are selling a course or membership or anything like that and there’s a members area, you can make sure that that data is in there somewhere and easily accessible. A lot of times when you have a course you might have a welcome video that you have people watch, you can put that information in there. 

So making sure that people understand what your customer service hours are is super, super handy. 

Set an Out-Of-Office

Another tip for providing great customer service, especially if you’re doing it all on your own or you’re just having a high volume of requests right now is set an out-of-office. So just to have an out-of-office that runs all the time, that has all of the answers to the most common customer service issues that you come across. And then let people know when they can expect to hear back from a real live person. And you can even in there say, “if this answered your question, please let me know”. 

Then what will happen is anybody that answers back saying “Yep, question answered, thanks so much”, you don’t have to do anything with that email now and then you’re only left with people that you actually have to respond to. So that can be super handy if people don’t have to wait to get a response for something, always a win. 

Responding to emails in a timely fashion

Another tip for providing great customer service is if you have a question like somebody sent you an email or whatnot and you know that it’s gonna take you a little bit to get an answer to that. What I’ve seen some people do is they just mark it unread and then when they get to it, they get to it and it might be a day later, an hour later, two days later or a week later. And the problem is that person who sent you that email, they have no idea. 

They don’t know that you got it, they don’t know that you read it, they don’t know that you are looking into it, they don’t know when to, they can expect to receive your response from you. Which is annoying. So it’s putting them into a position they shouldn’t have to be in or they’re gonna just assume that you aren’t there, don’t care, whatnot. And they’ll chalk it up to bad customer service and that will be a story for later. 

So what you wanna do instead is reply to them right away. Just take five seconds to say, “Hey, thanks so much for your email, just wanted to let you know it’s gonna take me a little bit to look into it” or “I just need a little bit of time to look into it” or “we’re looking into it currently” However you wanna word it. And then give them some sort of expectation as to when they can hear back from you. Then you’re gonna wanna make sure that you actually send an email back to them in the timeline that you stated. 

So if you said, I need a couple of days to look into it, I’ll get back to you on Monday, then you need to make sure that it gets put somewhere for you to respond back to them Monday or earlier so that they’re not left wondering what’s happening cuz if Tuesday rolls around, then that’s just as bad as if you had have just waited and not responded to them at all. They’re left in that same position. They don’t know like, did you forget? Did you just decide that they weren’t worth it or what’s happening? They have no idea. So you need to make sure that you follow up.

And that brings me to my last tip for great customer service and that is:

Having some way of following up with people

Having a process in place so that you can make sure that you follow up with people but then also like to surprise and delight people by following up with them. Sometimes you might have a customer service requests come in and you deal with it, you give them the answer and they reply and say, thanks so much that was, you know, that’s great or whatever. 

And then maybe a week from now you follow up with them to check in, is it still going well? Everything’s still good. So for instance, if somebody contacts you because they can’t get into the product that they just bought from you, you resolve that issue. Maybe follow up with them a week from now. Hey, I just wanna make sure to check in with you, see how things are going, were you able to get in? You know, or what, what did you think of things once you were able to get in or whatever. 

Those little things. You don’t have to do to do it with everybody, although you could put together a process so that you can, cuz consistency is really good. But having that process in place to really surprise and delight people, show them that you care is really, really handy. 

My Favorite Tools!

So you can do this in a number of ways. My favorite tool that I use (cuz all of my customer service is just through Gmail and people just email us and we respond) is a tool called Boomerang to just make sure that I don’t ever lose track of an email.

So I’m gonna quickly show it to you super, super quick what it looks like. 

So here you can see this is just a blank email. So assume that I am sending this email to somebody down at the bottom. So Boomerang is just an app you can buy. And so if you search Boomerang for Gmail or Boomerang for Outlook, you’ll be able to find it. They have a Chrome extension as well. I won’t get into all the details, but basically what it does is it at the bottom of your email it adds this ‘remind me in X number of days’ menu here. 

So if I click this and if I hit send, it’s gonna remind me about this email in two days regardless of what else has happened with this email. So if somebody has replied to it or I’ve replied to it or anything, it’s going to bring this email back into my inbox. I can change this scenario here. So I could say well only bring it back if they didn’t open the email. 

So if they didn’t open the email, it would bring it back saying “Hey, you needed to follow up with this”. You can use, ‘if not clicked’, and you can use ‘if no reply’. The two that I use the most are ‘if no reply’ and ‘regardless’. So ‘if no reply’ is I send something to somebody, you know, especially if there’s a question I had for them and I’m waiting for a reply. I’ll say if no reply follow up in X number of days, but sometimes it’s something I want to action later. 

This here ‘regardless’ would be a good one if I was letting them know that I was looking into something and I was gonna follow up with them in X number of days. I could say ‘regardless’ here, and then it’s going to come back into my inbox regardless of what they’ve done. So whether they’ve opened it or clicked or anything is gonna come back into my inbox on the date that I specify.

And then the dropdown here will just give you a bunch of default timeframes. So in, you know, one or two hours or whatever, one or two days, tomorrow morning, tomorrow afternoon, or you can set a very specific day and time here. And then my favorite feature is you can actually add a note. So this is like a note to self goes here. So you can say, oh, I wanted to follow up with them on this, or I wanted to follow up and ask them this or whatever it is, make a note to yourself and hit save and then you just hit send. And after, in this case, after two days, that’s just gonna hit the top of my inbox, come right back to me as if it’s a new email and I will be able to take care of it at that time. 

I pair this with…because I use teamwork for my project management tool. I’m not sure if you can see it, but over here you can see the little “T” with the dot just over here on the right hand side. So I pair this with the teamwork extension that connects with Gmail so that I will if it’s something where I have to do something, I have to look into something or I have to follow something up, or maybe somebody in my team has to follow it up, I can create a task from the email using that little extension there. 

So I’ll set the email and use Boomerang to tell the email to come back into my inbox so I don’t forget to follow up with them and then I’ll use that extension. So I’ll have the email open and I’ll click on the extension and it will let me add a task to teamwork to look into whatever it is that I’ve said that I need to look into. Using those two in tandem really helps bring my customer service game up a notch so that I don’t forget anything. I have a task in my project management tool to actually do any follow-up that needs to happen and I can assign that to myself or a team member.

So that is it! 

Those are your 4 ‘Do’s’ and the 1 ‘Don’t’ (and a couple of tips) on providing great customer service. 

  • So you’re gonna wanna have a policy and a process to follow for your turnaround times, your refunds, password resets, member details, things like that. 
  • You do want to be asking questions in order to clarify as needed. 
  • You do wanna delegate the task of customer service to somebody as soon as you can.
  • You do want to embrace both the good and the bad feedback that you receive from people and decide whether there’s anything in there for you to learn from or grow from or whatnot.
  • And then you don’t want to chalk negative emails, negative customer service or emails up to that person just being a bad fit for you or not your ideal client and then brush them off.

You do want to make sure that you provide kindness and a little bit of time to everybody that takes the time to message you.

That is it for today. If you found any of this useful, please don’t forget to like and subscribe and also forward it to another entrepreneur that you think needs to hear it. 

Together, we thrive. 

Have a great day.

Meet your host

Sandra Booker, Founder of Changemaker Inc. (home to Sidekick COO and The VA Studio) and creator of Scale Society and The Advisory Board, is a mentor, Fractional COO  and growth strategist. She specializes in helping overworked, overwhelmed, multi-hatted entrepreneurs become the CEOs of sustainably scalable, and powerfully profitable businesses. 

After helping local businesses thrive, and receiving accolades in her community (like the 40 Under 40 award) Sandra turned her attention to the world of online service providers, and her clients include familiar names like Chanti Zak, Tarzan Kay, and Laura Belgray.

In her (efficiently used) spare time, she teaches others how to build and grow their own 6-figure virtual assistant practices and is on a mission to create a million jobs by helping her clients and students scale their businesses.

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