At SegMetrics, we know all about giving customers first-class service. It\u2019s what we do every day \u2014 making sure your experience using our membership site platform is fast, easy, and profitable.We\u2019ve learned a lot about customer service from years of consulting with a wide range of companies and entrepreneurs. We\u2019ve also learned a lot from watching what big businesses do in the face of customer problems. Do they rise to the occasion? Sometimes! Do they crumble and fall? You better believe it.Here are five customer service techniques to implement right now to knock the socks off your online course students\u2026brought to you by some of the most (and least) customer-friendly businesses around.1. Prioritize the customer experienceZappos is the no-brainer pick at the top of every \u201cgreat customer service\u201d list. Why? Because they care about their customers above everything else in their business. Their #1 core value is \u201cDeliver WOW through customer service\u201d and they shout the tagline \u201cPowered By Service\u201d right in their logo. Zappos\u2019 public commitment shows in everything they do.There are so many stories of great Zappos service that have become legend:\u2026The time they sent flowers to a customer who wasn\u2019t able to return her shoes in time due to her mother\u2019s unexpected death.\u2026The time they located last-minute replacement shoes for a traveler, buying them at the local mall and delivering them to her hotel.\u2026The time they replaced someone\u2019s UGG boots \u2014 twice \u2014 including a hand-drawn card from the service rep to thank them for being loyal customers.These are over-the-top examples of amazing service, but at the heart of each story is something very basic: putting the customer\u2019s needs first.WHAT YOU CAN DO:Put your students\u2019 needs first.Think about what they require to have a great experience with your course, and make sure you deliver.\u00a0Make your website easy to navigate.\u00a0Provide high quality content.\u00a0Tier your prices.\u00a0Make your customer service experience fast and easy. All of this adds up to making your customer happy. And happy customers = repeat business = increased profits for you.2. Make it clear you careHave you ever been thrilled to visit the DMV? Of course not. That\u2019s because you understand \u2013 from past experience, from friends\u2019 horror stories, and from pop culture \u2013 that the DMV does not care about you. The DMV has been reduced to a stereotype, full of apathetic workers, long lines, and frustrating paperwork.We view most customer service interactions the same way we view the DMV. It\u2019s a horrible punishment to have to call a hotline for help. We wait until we have thirty minutes to kill before we pick up the phone, because we don\u2019t know how long it will take.One way to help your customers get around their \u201cCustomer Service Sucks\u201d mindset? Tell them how much you value them, and show them you\u2019re serious about it. The DMV might never be a paragon of quality service, but if they at least told their customers that they care, it would be a step in the right direction.WHAT YOU CAN DO:Tell your students you welcome the opportunity to help fix their problems.Put your customer service information in a prominent position on your website, in your emails, and within your course itself. Offer a variety of ways for people to get in touch with you: live chat, email, online forms, phone. (Remember that not all of your students will be tech-savvy or comfortable with digital communication.)3. Train your support staffWegmans is the best grocery store chain in America, according to a 2014 Consumer Reports survey. What sets Wegmans apart from other supermarkets? Its well-trained, customer-focused employees. Cashiers aren\u2019t even allowed to interact with customers until they\u2019ve completed\u00a040+ hours of specialized training.The Wegmans model is simple and effective: \u201cA happy, knowledgeable and superbly trained employee creates a better experience for customers. Extraordinary service builds tremendous loyalty.\u201dWHAT YOU CAN DO:Give your customer service agents the information they need to succeed.Don\u2019t throw your support staff into the deep end of the pool without teaching them how to swim first. Provide documentation and training so they know exactly what to do. There\u2019s no detail too small when it comes to customer service: your employees should understand your process, your students\u2019 problems, and how to fix things right the first time.Well-trained employees help you grow loyal students, and they also save you time. Invest in solid training beforehand, and you\u2019ll be able to delegate issues knowing that everything will be taken care of.4. Organize the chaosHere\u2019s a question: which line would you rather stand in?The line outside a Walmart on Black FridayThe line outside a Disney World rideBoth lines will end in something you want. At Walmart, you\u2019ll get a special sale item, and at Disney, you\u2019ll get to go on a ride. But there\u2019s a huge difference between the quality of each line.Outside any store on Black Friday, chaos reigns.There are hundreds of cold, cranky people clumped in front of you. Some people are pushing to the front of the clump, and nobody is there to tell you when the doors are going to open. When the store finally opens, masses of people are fighting against each other to make sure they get that limited-time offer they want. The whole thing is an ordeal.Not the kind of experience you want your students to have when waiting in a customer service queue, is it?Now, think about the line outside a Disney ride.The line follows a clearly marked path. There are signs every so often that tell you how long the wait will be. If you\u2019re using a FastPass+, you\u2019re assigned a specific time to come back and ride the ride, which means bypassing the long line altogether. The atmosphere is much more peaceful because everyone feels that they are going to end up getting what they want by the end.If you manage your customer service queue like a Disney ride, your students are guaranteed to have a better experience.WHAT YOU CAN DO:Invest in a support system that features ticketing and status updates.We recommend software like\u00a0HelpScout,\u00a0FreshDesk, or\u00a0ZenDesk\u00a0to manage your customer service issues. If you\u2019re handling problems through email alone, it\u2019s like Walmart on Black Friday. You and your team can\u2019t keep track of what\u2019s happening. Your students don\u2019t know where they are in the resolution process. It can quickly turn into a big, angry mess.If you\u2019re using reputable customer support software, welcome to Disney World! You can easily track tickets, see who has been assigned to which problem, and see what problems are still outstanding. You can expedite certain issues and let your students know what their status is in the line.You can rest easy knowing your students are being helped in an orderly fashion.5. Help your customer, not just yourselfDid you hear that recent customer service call between Comcast and a poor guy trying to disconnect his service? You can listen to the whole horrifying ordeal\u00a0here. (The recording itself is eight minutes long, but the entire call was almost\u00a020 minutes.)The basic story is: guy tries to cancel service, customer rep refuses to do it, guy politely asks to cancel service again and again, rep becomes increasingly irate trying to stop him.Besides the customer service rep\u2019s obvious rudeness and obstinance, the real problem stems from deep within the heart of Comcast itself. It\u2019s likely their staff is given thorough training on how to stop customers from cancelling. There\u2019s probably an incentive structure in place that motivates this kind of \u201cNo, you CAN\u2019T cancel!\u201d craziness.Comcast\u2019s mistake is focusing on what\u2019s best for the company first instead of what\u2019s best for the consumer first. After all, what\u2019s more likely to prevent customers from leaving: a labyrinthine cancellation process, or an incredible customer experience?WHAT YOU CAN DO:Rethink your approach to customer care.Your priorities shouldn\u2019t be focused on YOUR bottom line \u2014 preventing refunds, avoiding customer service costs, and saving time. Instead, think of these things as a natural result of providing great service.When you focus on your CUSTOMERS\u2019 bottom line \u2014 having a great experience, loving the product, feeling taken care of \u2014 you\u2019ll see an organic decrease in refunds, customer service costs, and time spent handling issues.