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The 10 Commandments of Customer Service

By Willie Jolley – Motivational Speaker on Leadership, Change and Sales

Willie Jolley Motivational Speaker at The Sweeny Agency Speakers Bureau

Dr. Willie Jolley’s Ten Commandments of Superior Customer Service:

  • Commandment No. 1 – Thou Shalt Serve with a Smile: The best people in customer service take joy in helping others. They serve with a smile. Jolley cites an old Jewish proverb that states, “A person who cannot smile should not open a store!” He sums up the attitude we should all have when taking care of others: “It makes my day to be able to help make your day.”


  • Commandment No. 2 – Thou Shalt Go the Extra Mile: Does going the “extra mile” really take that much effort? Often times it doesn’t. It’s just doing something extra. It can be as simple spending an extra minute or two with a customer who might have extra questions or need help. Maybe you offer to deliver something, rather than making the customer come to you. There are many ways of doing a little something extra that will make the customer feel appreciated.


  • Commandment No. 3 – Thou Shalt Greet, Speak and Be Real Sweet: Don’t miss an opportunity to interact with your customers. As you walk through your establishment, a nod of the head, a smile or a friendly, “Good morning,” are simple gestures that show you are acknowledging another person.


  • Commandment No. 4 – Thou Shalt Say Thank You and Please – A LOT: This is a simple one our parents should have taught us. It’s good manners. And, being polite results in more than just being polite. It’s a sign of respect. Respect creates confidence, and confidence leads to trust


  • Commandment No. 5 – Thou Shalt Be Willing to Apologize Quickly: This is a big one. When you’re wrong, don’t just admit it, apologize. This isn’t a sign of weakness, but of strength. You’re confident enough to accept what has happened. What happens afterward is what’s going to count. That’s when you fix what needs to be fixed. Jolley mentions my friend Bill Cates, who shares his take on apologizing. “Say, ‘I’m sorry,’ and say it quickly. It should be the first thing out of your mouth. Why? Because it costs nothing to say, ‘I’m sorry.’ It’s not admitting fault, but simply expressing that you feel sorry that they were inconvenienced.
  • Commandment No. 6 – Thou Shalt Anticipate: Don’t just respond and react to what customers want. The best people and organizations study their customers and plan in advance for what they need. A simple example is a server in a restaurant who is always there with a pitcher of water just before you drink your last sip. I refer to this as proactive customer service.


  • Commandment No. 7 – Do What Is Necessary, Not What Is Comfortable: You know the old expression: Don’t take the easy way out. There is a reason they refer to it as easy. Because it is. If you are focused on your customer, you will do what’s right and necessary, not what’s easy.


  • Commandment No. 8 – Thou Shalt Take Responsibility: In customer service, taking responsibility means you own it. You never express those terrible words, “It’s not my department.” It may not be, and you may not be the one to ultimately resolve the issue, but to the customer, you have presented yourself as the one he or she can count on. It may not be your fault, but now it’s your problem (to solve for the customer).


  • Commandment No. 9 – Thou Shalt Lighten the Lines: Who likes to wait in lines? No one! So, why would you make your customers wait? By the way, the word “line” is a metaphor for making the customer wait unnecessarily for anything. Don’t make people wait in line, and don’t put them on a long hold. It’s disrespectful to the people who are willing to spend their money with you. There was a bank that knew its lines would get long at lunch hour, so it promised the customers shorter lines and would pay money if its customers had to wait longer than five minutes. That gave the customers confidence that the bank would be easy and quick to do business with, even at busy times.


  • Commandment No. 10 – Thou Shalt Practice the CANEI Principle: CANEI is Dr. Edward Deming’s concept that stands for Constant and Never Ending Improvement. It is about trying to be better at everything you do. Adopt an attitude in which you strive to be better today than yesterday. Is that even possible? It doesn’t matter. If each day you try your hardest – an effort to be the best you can be – nobody can fault your effort and drive.


About Willie Jolley

There are many motivational speakers, and then there is the one, the only, the incomparable Dr. Willie Jolley. He has been described simultaneously as a world-class, award-winning speaker and singer, best-selling author and media personality. Dr. Willie Jolley has achieved remarkable heights in the speaking industry, having come from humble beginnings as a fired singer, who was replaced by a karaoke machine! He has gone on to be named “One of the Outstanding Five Speakers in the World” by the 175,000 members of Toastmasters International, inducted into the Speaker Hall of Fame and achieved the distinction of Certified Speaker Professional by the National Speakers Association. He’s the recipient of the Ron Brown Distinguished Leadership Award, named “One of the Top 5 Leadership Speakers” by Speaking.com and Business Leader of The Year by The African American Chamber of Commerce.

To Learn more about Willie Jolley contact [email protected]

Derek Sweeney is the Director of Speaker Ideas at The Sweeney Agency. www.thesweeneyagency.com. For 15 years Derek has been helping clients find the right Speakers for their events. Derek can be reached at 1-866-727-7555 or [email protected]