12/27/2013 09:50 am ET Updated Feb 26, 2014

10 Ways to Rule at Customer Service, Hint: Watch Out for Astroturfing

I've been doing customer service in different capacities for the last 32 years, more or less... I joined IBM in '76, became a Systems Engineer in '82, did that into '93. And have been a craigslist (CL) customer service rep (CSR) since 1995. It's a tech customer service kind of thing.


This is a good time to mention that I do enough real customer service to keep my emotional investment in the CL and grassroots community, but my involvement in CL management ended well over ten years ago, and you need to look elsewhere for a CL spokesman. Getting perceived as spokesman, though, is a big pain in the butt, with no solution. That's why I'll direct you elsewhere for CL stuff.

As for my CSR stuff, here are 10 ways to rule at customer service:

1. Treat people like you want to be treated

2. Talk to people about what they need and want.

3. Act on what you hear from people.

4. Repeat #2 - #3 forever

5. Use your own product, AKA "eat your own dogfood."

6. At least, customer service should be a senior position, probably C-level.

7. Ideally, CEO does customer service.

8. Focus groups are no substitute for getting out there and talking to real people.

9. Watch out for astroturfing, fake feedback.

10. See #1