Friday, March 5th, 2021

The Customers’ Bill of Rights

By George Olds on Nov 27 2009 • Filed under Customer Service Secrets


Customers are the lifeblood of every business. Knowing how they think and what's important to them can make or break your business efforts. The following are some basic “Customer Rights” that everyone involved in running a business, from owner to front line staff, should keep in mind. 

1. The right to eye contact.

Hello! Look at me, please. I’d like to make a deposit into your company’s bank account.” 

That’s what I’m thinking, even if I don’t say it. Though sometimes I do. As in, “Excuse me, when do the clerks come on duty here?” 

Besides, it could save your life. If you look me in the eye you can identify me, to the police if necessary. Studies show that if the customer doesn’t make eye contact with you, maybe that’s a clue that you’ll want to keep a closer eye on that particular customer.

2. The right to a smile.

“Gee, if you’re happy that I’ve chosen your business, maybe you should let your face know!” 

Every once in a while, I’d like to know that the people who serve me are glad to see me. It shows you are aware I’m present, and starts a relationship. 

Call-centre employees aren’t off the hook, either. When I call your help desk, let me hear you smile. Your customers will notice.

3. The right to a greeting

“Good morning.” Now, was that so hard? Sure I’m there to do business, but if you want me to come back and do more, treat me like a person. You’ll get to know me. 

You’ll find out all about my preferences, my spending habits, all that stuff your boss paid a mint to capture in databases!

4. The right to your name (and the right to have you use mine)

On the phone, as a customer I like to be reassured that I’ve reached the right person. I don’t need your resume, just your name. And maybe your company’s name, as in, “Express International, Sam speaking.” If I mis-dialled while trying to reach ‘Chris’ at “National Express”, I’ll know I haven’t reached the person or company I wanted. I can apologize and correct my mistake.

5. The right to be offered help

Now that we’ve met, it would be nice to know that you’re willing to do your share to help me. Say so. Sincerely. “How can I help you?” It’s that easy. It lets me know you are open to hearing about my needs.

You see, we have to move beyond the ‘Golden Rule’. We can no longer afford to “Do unto others the way you would have them do unto you.” It isn’t about YOU. We have to move beyond that to the Platinum Rule of Customer service: “Do unto others the way THEY would like to be done unto.”

6. The right to your undivided attention

The customers in front of you are more important than anything else – your boyfriend, the hockey score, your co-workers, even your boss! They took their time and effort to come to your business. Pay attention to them. They pay your salary. 

For those of you on the phones, I really don’t care that you ‘have to finish another file.’ Do it when we’ve finished our conversation.

7. The right to accuracy

I have the right to believe you can do your job well. If you can’t because of lack of training, tell your boss. If you don’t I will! 

When you give me accurate information, the right change, or the right product, you’ve met my needs. If you can only fulfill part of my request, say so. “I’m sorry, sir, we only have 14 of those left in stock. I’ll order more. It’ll take two days to arrive, and I’ll call you when they’re in.” This simple statement says you’re aware of my need, you care about it, and you’ll do your share to meet it.

8. The right to a product that does what it’s supposed to

It should work. It shouldn’t be broken when I open the package. I recently ordered some printer cartridges on the website of a large, well-known supplier. They arrived and BOTH were missing the same part. Now instead of the ‘convenience of Internet ordering,’ I had to take the products back to the nearest store. How ‘convenient’ was that?

9. The right to a fair price for your product or service

Don’t gouge me. I don’t like it because I can’t afford it. 

You can’t control the price I pay for a product; why should I buy your brand if I can get a comparable product more cheaply elsewhere?

10. The right to thanks for my business

On occasion, I buy office supplies from a well known big Box (UGGH!) store. I’ve never been thanked for my business. Actually, I get the feeling I’m a big nuisance, the way I interrupt sales staff’s private conversations and all. One time, I dropped half a thousand, and instead of thanks, I got grief. 

Rarely do I hear service providers say they are actually glad for my business. I find that odd. YOU have the power to change that.

1 Comment

  1. these are a must or there will be no lasting sale.

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