What does the word “least” have to do with great customer service? A lot, actually. It’s not about effort, it’s about customer care. To solve customer service challenges, remember this acronym: L.E.A.S.T – Listen, Empathize, Apologize, Solve and Thank.

  • Listen: To show that you’re actively listening to your customer, repeat their concern: “I understand the hot dogs from the warmer are overdone.”
  • Empathize: Let the customer know their concern is warranted (even if it really isn’t): “I don’t blame you for being frustrated.”
  • Apologize: A sincere “I’m sorry” goes a long way. “I’m sorry this happened. I’m happy to help fix it.”
  • Solve: Find a solution as best you can. You may not be able to completely solve the customer’s problem right that minute, but moving toward a solution is often enough. “The warmer seems to need service, I’ll get someone out right away. Can I offer you a sandwich today instead?”
  • Thank: Thank customers for bringing the problem to your attention and for simply being a customer. “Thank you for letting us know so we can get this corrected. Please come back again to try our fresh donuts!”

Employee Power

Empower your employees to respond properly to any kind of customer service request. To be successful, they’ll need the training and the autonomy to make good decisions. You’ll need to support them, even if they make mistakes from time to time. In those cases, it’s wise to discuss the matter privately, never in front of customers. A good way to start: “What could we have done differently to prevent the situation from occurring?”

Employees who can solve problems and know they have the backing of management will provide great service. Employees should be able to take care of most customer service issues. Equally as important, make sure your customer service training teaches employees to recognize situations that truly require management involvement.