What is Customer Courtesy?

Gladly Team

Read Time

6 minute read

What makes a customer service interaction great? Is it speed? Efficiency? Some other tangible thing like average handle time? (If you’re just *dying* to know how all about this particular metric of customer service, check out our other article: The Meaning of AHT.) While all of these things contribute to stellar customer support, nothing warms the customer’s hearts more than compassion and courtesy.

Customer courtesy is one aspect of customer service that can’t be measured. However, the results of its implementation are undeniable. 77% of customers surveyed for Gladly’s 2020 Customer Expectations Report say that they are more likely to recommend a brand to friends and family if they receive a personalized support experience. And personalization in customer service starts with treating your customer with kindness and empathy.

Compassion and understanding in customer service interactions have been shown to create more repeat customers and yield better results and a higher number of fully resolved issues. All of this adds up to improved customer satisfaction. A win for your customers, and your company!

In this article, we’re going to spell out some of the details of customer courtesy and what makes it an all-important practice in the world of consumer service.

Aspects of Customer Courtesy

We said earlier that you can’t measure customer courtesy. But there are still a few landmarks to look for that will let you know if you’re on the right track.

Speed of response. 

Your customer’s time is important. This should be a fundamental belief held by anyone in any role in customer service. And your customers should also know that you believe that. But it’s something you have to prove, not just say. So, the first act of courtesy you can perform for your customer is addressing their issue with speed and efficiency. Of course there will be waiting periods depending on the urgency of the issue, and no one expects you to SOLVE a complex issue right away. But your customer should be updated promptly when there are shifts in their resolution, and first introductions should be made as quickly as possible.


Your customer is a person. Most people like to be treated like a person (some customers might not, but feel free to improvise if you run into one. Just be nice.) And part of treating your customer like a person, and not just a ticket or a sale, if by using friendly language which demonstrates that you are ready and willing to help your caller out in whatever way you can. This means using greetings such as “Good Morning!” or “Hi Mary! How can I help you today?”; expressing appreciation for their time, and ending on a friendly note. You might say something like, “I’m so glad we were able to solve your issue. Don’t hesitate to call us back if you have any questions.”

Facilitating a human interaction.

Your customer wants to know that you are also a person. It can sometimes be intimidating to contact a corporate customer service line. It helps to ease the interaction if the consumer gets that you’re another human, and not just a support drone. Introduce yourself when you start the conversation, and use casual but professional language when addressing your caller. Be willing to share a laugh with them, and express genuine empathy if they’re upset or frustrated.

This also means avoiding addressing yourself as “we”. Don’t hide behind the identity of your company. Practice using singular personal pronouns: refer to yourself as “I” when indicating yourself to show that you are an individual. This helps to make the interaction feel more personal.

Careful listening. 

Your customer wants to know that you care. It can be extremely uncomfortable for customers if they hear nothing from you during your interaction, especially once they’re done talking. Think about how you have face-to-face conversations with your friends. You probably make eye contact, nod, and make short responses to let them know that you’re listening. Now think about what you might do to translate those affirmative gestures into a phone call with a customer. Mhms, ahs, yes oks, and statements like “I’m so sorry that that happened, I’ll get on that right away” will let your customer know that you’re paying attention.

Why Customer Courtesy is Important

By now you should have some idea of the importance of customer courtesy. But if you’re one of those people that just has to see the numbers (we get it!) this section contains some useful percentages that help to prove that courtesy is a vital component of any customer service interaction.

From Gladly’s 2021 Customer Expectations Report:

  • 45% of customers will stop buying from a brand after two bad service experiences.
  • 62% of customers will recommend a brand to a friend because of great service.
  • 63% of customers fall in love with brands because of great service.

As we can see from these statistics, bad customer service has the potential to do irreparable damage to customer relationships. Not only will you lose a customer, but you may even lose the business of their friends and family. And who knows how many people they’ll tell in turn.

What the real takeaway should be here is that customer courtesy pays. A good customer service experience will gain you invaluable business and customer loyalty, leading to repeat business, referrals, and more!

How Gladly can Help Your Customer Courtesy

Gladly strives to put the customer at the forefront of every service interaction. Our radically personal solution believes in a people-centric approach to service, and sees people, not just tickets. This philosophy helps us help you provide the best possible experiences for your customers, by making them feel both seen and heard with every call.

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